Barcode Data Collection Improves Kellogg's Supply Chain

Meagan Douglas
Fri, May 31, 2013

Many companies have integrated barcode software into their operations to more easily track products. Supply Chain Digital's Ella Copeland pointed out that the barcode has become common across various industries and that it is used more than 5 billion times each day around the world.

"The Universal Product Code data incorporated into the barcode spans across continents, governments, economies, markets, and cultures to create a global standard of business, capable of identifying, capturing, and sharing information automatically and accurately," wrote Copeland.

The latest example of a corporation benefiting from this technology is Kellogg's, as the breakfast cereal and snack company recently implemented barcode software to improve its supply chain, reported SHD Logistics. It uses the same barcode scanner technology throughout its U.K. warehouses and distribution centers. The company's operations are now entirely dependent on barcode scanners to manage products, order fulfillment and distribution throughout its supply chain.

"Our warehousing and distribution processes are barcode driven so it is essential that we don't suffer scanner downtime," Kellogg's IT senior analyst Paul Brown told SHD Logistics. "Without this equipment, the nation's breakfast tables would miss their [favorite] cereal brands."

The company uses a fleet of handheld scanners that transmit data wirelessly to their warehouse management system. The devices are used to track incoming shipments of raw materials from suppliers, to pick shipment orders and to send out finished products that need to be distributed to stores, explained SHD Logistics.

Handheld devices may also be used to produce custom barcode and RFID labels that can be attached to shipments, making it faster and easier for warehouse staff to produce information that can be used to identify products, packages and pallets.

By using barcode data collection throughout the process, Kellogg's can trace all of the products and materials that go into and come out of its warehouses, trucks, stores and supply chain partners. This provides the company with the ability to have greater visibility into its processes, remain in compliance with regulations and identify areas that could be made more efficient.

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