What is a barcode, and why are they so important?
Introduced in 1974, a barcode is a machine-readable symbol that stores identifying data about the package or product with which they are associated. When scanned, the symbol is decoded, recorded, and processed to extract the data for a variety of uses (some examples include pricing, order fulfillment, traceability through production, sortation, shipping, and more).
Barcodes play an important role in product fulfillment and provide advantages compared with manually entering information. Here are some of the reasons that barcodes make such a huge difference:
Without barcodes, individual products would have to be manually tracked. Manual tracking leads to many human errors, making your inventory less accurate, which ultimately leads to your business losing money. Barcodes are able to track items with an extremely low error rate, making them much more accurate than manual entry.
Barcodes allow businesses to accurately track large inventories of products, and also look up any item almost instantly. Without barcodes, companies that maintain inventories of thousands or millions of products would likely be forced to scale back.
Before barcodes were invented, merchandise was tracked manually. Employing full-time workers to manually track merchandise can cost a lot of time and money, especially when tracking large quantities of goods. Barcodes eliminate the need for excess employees, making companies more efficient while they also save in labor costs, benefits, training, equipment and more.
Barcodes significantly speed up the process of doing business. In retail settings, barcodes are scanned to immediately identify the cost of goods, so cashiers don’t have to manually type in prices. This keeps checkout lines moving quickly and efficiently, resulting in happier customers and increased sales.
In warehouse settings, the ability to scan barcodes eliminates the need to track merchandise manually, which speeds up the process.