Considering the immeasurable importance of bar codes, it's somewhat surprising that one of the most iconic versions of the technology has only been around for about 40 years.
Computerworld explained that the first item to use a Universal Product Code was a pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum, which was scanned at an Ohio store in 1974. What manufacturers, distributors and millions of people involved in retail recognize as a bar code hasn't always assumed its current design. In fact, the UPC was originally meant to be circular, but printing problems brought that idea to a halt.
The world-renowned computing enterprise IBM is largely responsible for affirming the UPC bar code as a linear-shaped design that holds product pricing information, The Chicago Tribune wrote. Now bar codes are used in multiple ways, including wristbands in medical facilities and vehicle identification numbers in the automotive industry.
Technology With Staying Power
While there are other ways that businesses can track product information, bar codes have an indelible place in the supply chain. For instance, Amazon relies on the technology to keep up-to-date records of merchandise as it moves through various locations. Because they've become so entrenched in the day-to-day lives of business owners, employees and consumers, it's easy to take for granted the impact bar codes and scanners have had on the global supply chain.
These technologies helped to break ground in the world of automated data collection, especially as it relates to mobile technology. An RFgen recorded webinar, "Work Without Limits - Wireless and Mobile Data Collection Solutions for SAP," explains this issue with even more clarity. The presentation highlights the fact that wireless scanning technology has become a key aspect of warehouse, manufacturing and freight yard operations.
Ensuring Manufacturers Work Efficiently
Bar code scanning is central to transportation and logistics, direct store delivery processes and remote warehouse management. With specific regard to RFgen Mobile Foundations for SAP, manufacturers have access to an open source application that ingrates seamlessly with an SAP system. The solution comes equipped with pre-written and pre-tested transactions, while it's also easy to modify and configure for each organization's needs.
Furthermore, it supports a variety of data capture scenarios, including wireless bar code scanners. One of the most important aspects of RFgen software is its ability to support an efficient and reliable wireless data collection system. Organizations use wireless bar code technology to access real-time information, such as inventory, shipping and receiving, quality assurance and time and attendance.
NB Coatings Understands the Power of Bar Coding Technology
The webinar highlighted the case of NB Coatings, a subsidiary of Nippon Paint Company, which integrated RFgen Mobile Solution for SAP Automated Inventory Control. The company manufactures paints, allied products and other coating commodities, and sought to remove manual processes from its operations. By integrating the RFgen solution, the paint company was able to save $100,000 in annual costs associated with manual administrative tasks by integrating a user-friendly bar coding system. The automated data collection and management software requires virtually no training or maintenance, making sure manufacturers are able to focus on creating their products and getting them to their customers quickly.
While bar codes may seem unassuming in their design, they pack a punch. Through the series of vertical lines and numbers, a variety of stakeholders involved in the global supply chain are able to keep close track of merchandise as it flows between multiple locations. It's likely many organizations will still depend on the technology after another 40 years.