Some companies don't see the immediate ROI they expect from new technology. Implementation of barcoding systems is important and there are a few best practices for optimal performance.
Here are three suggestions for what businesses should consider when adopting barcoding technologies:
1. Realize Barcoding Advantages Through Guided Implementation
Companies can become set in their ways. A warehouse may be aware of how new technology can aid operations, but workers are reliant on strategies that have proven effective in the past.
RFgen published the case study of a wellness product manufacturer that saw the advantages of barcode scanning procedures after some initial heel dragging. The company, Melaleuca, used manual and paper-based processes to input data into its JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP system. The process was slow and full of redundancies, but workers found it effective enough. A software partner worked with Melaleuca to demonstrate the performance benefits barcoding could provide.
A gradual implementation process of barcoding technology improved the efficiency and accuracy of Melaleuca's supply chain. The technology was easily integrated into its existing system.
Companies curious about barcoding solutions should reach out to a provider that has experience in their industry. A good software partner speaks to specific advantages and can work with a company's implementation team. The tools shouldn't completely replace existing procedures, but they should improve them through gradual adjustments.
2. Create Physical Layouts to Accommodate Digital Performance
Barcoding implementation is more than just placing labels on inventory and handing scanners to employees. Warehouse procedures and layout may have to adjust to facilitate new equipment.
Some of the changes can be quite simple. Shelving practices need to make sure barcode labels are facing out and easy to access. Picking and inventory teams may be reduced, as less manpower is necessary for the simplified tasks. Labels no longer have to be physically read, so auditors won't require equipment that gets them eye-level with products.
Barcoding labels can be implemented on other assets beside inventory. Software ThinkTank advised warehouses to place barcode labels on bins where products are to be stored. By scanning both the product and the bin when picking or shelving, the employee can ensure inventory is in the proper location and is easily found. An inventory manager should work with a software partner to determine which assets would benefit from having a barcode label.
3. Capture the Right Data
Barcode scanners improve data reporting to company ERP systems. The type of information collected by the technology is decided on by the business.
During implementation, a company has to determine what data is most important to supply chain operations. WiseGeek, a technology advice blog, suggested different companies may need to track receiving data, inventory location, product descriptions, destination or price with barcoding. Once the information is designated in the system, it can be displayed in the ERP system as soon as the label is scanned by a device.
Companies shouldn't be afraid to change what data is captured. Shifting markets or company growth may necessitate more information or a different focus. During implementation, a warehouse may discover the previously selected data set doesn't give a complete picture or asks for redundant information. A technology adoption process has to be ready to change based on real world application. Businesses that adopt barcode solutions should keep a working partnership with their provider.