Why are barcodes so important in product fulfillment?

Let’s get right to the point: barcodes play a very important role in product fulfillment. They make doing business much more efficient by providing a method to track and store information about goods, from individual products to cases or pallets containing thousands or even millions of items.

On the contrary, missing or incorrect barcodes can result in lost products, missing orders and returns, receiving delays and increased expenses, which can be a stressful situation for both the merchant and the warehouse. Many products are manufactured in countries other than that of the 3PL- for example, an US based 3PL and Chinese manufacturer. In these situations where boxing and labeling can get confusing or ambiguous, barcodes help to eliminate errors.

Barcodes are also helpful when there are slight, but important, differences between two products. Barcodes that are consistent all the way from the e-commerce system clear through to the 3PL’s packing and picking system helps reduce human or process errors.

Importance of Barcode in Product Fulfillment

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.

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