For a long time now, let’s say several decades, barcodes have extensively been used as a tool to accurately store data. Supermarkets have been using barcodes since the seventies now, and that’s simply because barcodes managed to reduce clerical errors, and made data-entry a more simplified task. But, the barcodes that were adopted by those supermarkets back in the seventies were 1D barcodes. The subsequent limitations of 1D barcodes propelled innovation, which led to the eventual introduction of 2D barcodes. The increasing popularity of 2D barcodes is a direct result of its efficiency, diverse uses, low costs, and ease-of-use. But, before we begin to elaborate all these advantages 2D barcodes bring, let us differentiate them a little from 1D barcodes.
When it comes to characters, 2D Barcodes > 1D Barcodes
You might have grown up spotting 1D barcodes or linear barcodes; these are your classic barcodes that simply consist of parallel, vertical, black and white lines of differing widths that resulted in a unique pattern. 2D barcodes are not as simple in scope and design. 2D barcodes encode data in square or rectangular patterns that have more complicated designs. The common designs that you’d witness are QRCode, DataMatrix, and PDF417. However, the designing isn’t what makes 2D barcodes a better bet than standard 1D barcodes. 2D barcodes are more effective as they can store significantly larger sums of data and have a far larger character set. But, these 2D barcode terminologies can’t be read by the standard scanner, you’d have to rely on a more sophisticated 2D barcode reader instead. Certain barcode terminologies are more suited to certain industries. Get in touch with an expert to understand the suitability of these terminologies for your industry.
Benefits of 2D Barcodes
Since 2D barcodes have a capacity to store sizeable chunks of information, they are highly suitable for use for a company’s manufacturing, warehousing, and logistical functions across industries. Consider a manufacturing facility where employees are required to use several smaller components to assemble a finished product.
The casual reader may have the following question: “what is it that makes 2D barcodes particularly special? Can a standard barcode not accomplish these functions?” Allow us to explain the distinct advantages of using a 2D barcode.
Superior Inventory Management
Yes, while 1D or linear barcodes can also help you store information pertaining to a product or a component of a larger product, it is nothing compared to the information a 2D barcode can register. At best, a 1D barcode can store information about the price and name of a certain product, but there’s more information that needs to be stored into a barcode for a superior, multi-layered inventory management program. And, 2D barcodes – with their capacity to store a higher number of characters – provide just that.
They can avail information about the product, its configuration, date of manufacturing, and the name of the vendor who provided the product, etc. The same information is critical to the success of a warehousing or inventory management program. For instance, let us consider a pharmacy, where it’s essential for a pharmacist to be aware of the many diverse drugs that routinely enter and leave their stores. It’s simply not feasible for the pharmacist to store huge chunks of relevant operational information manually. Besides, barcodes have proven to be far more accurate than humans. With one mistake per 1000 scans, we believe these are wonderful odds in favour of a business owner considering the use of barcodes.
Capacity to be used a Marketing Tool
One of the variants of 2D barcodes, QR codes, in particular, has been extensively used as a marketing tool. Restaurants and brands have loyalty systems that are centered on the concept of scanning a QR code. Furthermore, in some cases, magazines, signage and other advertisements too have a QR code that redirects a user to a relevant website or video clip. These new means of marketing act as a breath of fresh air when compared to static traditional advertisements. Marketers realize that these new forms of advertisements lead to increased user engagement through better immersion. These QR codes can also allow marketers to better track the number of people viewing their advertisement.
Capacity to be used as an Identification Tool
The medical industry has been a great beneficiary of barcodes. Hospitals have started using barcodes on patients’ wristbands as a means of identification. This identification is useful because it helps the nursing staff to understand patients’ key requirements with just a mere scan. A nurse simply needs to scan on a barcode to understand the medication a particular patient, the intensity of dosage that particular person needs, the intervals between two doses, and other essential administrative guidelines that must be followed to better serve the patient. This method of medical management reduces errors instantaneously, thereby drastically reducing the possibility of a mishap.
Convenience While Scanning
Another prime reason why 2D barcodes are preferred over 1D or linear barcodes is that scanning 1D barcodes can be inconvenient. Since 2D barcodes are oriented horizontally and vertically, it adds to the convenience of the individual responsible for scanning hundreds of barcodes without bothering to repeatedly adjust the alignment. 1D barcodes don’t offer such a luxury, as the scanning device must be aligned with the barcode at all times. This difficulty of having to adjust with a particular alignment can also lead to the scanner missing out on some barcodes, thereby causing errors.