Distributors and manufacturers can increase efficiency within their supply chain by utilizing 2-D barcodes. Barcode software and scanners that utilize 2-D codes for data collection have benefits over traditional, laser barcodes.
One-Dimensional Versus Two-Dimensional Barcodes
One-dimensional barcodes for data collection that are read with a laser are more susceptible to damage that can prevent the scanner from recognizing the code. They also cannot be read off of computer screens or at an angle. However, their simplicity and affordability have kept many companies from making the change to more advanced options. Like most supply chain management decisions, what's best practice for one company is not always the same for another. The decision to move to a 2-D system - which does have equipment costs and may require downtime - is one that should be made on a case-by-case basis.
Costs for 2-D Implementation are Becoming More Affordable
For many companies, the biggest turnoff of a 2-D system may be the belief that implementation will be very costly or require excessive downtime. However, recent advancements in camera-based scanning systems mean they now require about the same level of investment as laser-based barcode readers, according to Supply Chain Digest.
Image scanners are also more conducive to BYOD (bring your own device) trends in the workplace, which decrease costs in the long run as well. Because of their lower damage rate, two-dimensional barcodes can reduce missorts in distribution centers and improve mobile data collection outside of the physical plant.
When updating automated data collection systems companies should also ensure they have data collection software that syncs with existing ERP software. Combining the speed and reliability of 2-D barcodes with the real-time communication of data can provide significant advantages to the supply chain.