When it comes to your supply chain, it is essential that you strive for the highest accuracy in barcode scans as possible. In most cases, the rate for success in barcode scans is about 99%. While 1% does not seem like a large number or a significant fail rate, that 1% can have a more significant adverse effect on your supply chain than you imagine. For the most part, it is essential that your barcodes scan correctly on the first scan rather than on the second or third to help make sure that the integrity of the supply chain is maintained and so that you can be sure your product is going where it should.
Importance of Efficiency
There is a great deal of concern that is attached to the efficiency of barcodes and the scanning process. There is an average of about 5 billion barcodes scanned every day which means that even a small error margin like 1% can mean plenty of errors. When it comes to efficiency, a helpful way to visualize this concept is to look at a figure. If a company scans a total of 5 billion items and the error rate is 1%, that means that 50 million errors or failures are being made.
So why is this such a big deal? When an item is incorrectly or not scanned, the item then needs to be manually tracked which means that it takes longer to get your item to its destination for sale, it takes more effort, and it takes more money to get your item out and on its way. Barcodes are far more accurate than humans and can be as precise as only making one mistake in 36 trillion characters entered. When an item cannot be scanned, there is the potential that the item will be returned to the supplier which adds even more cost to the item and may make it ultimately unsellable.
Taking a Closer Look at Inaccurate Invoices
Invoices are used to do a great deal in the modern business. They help to track payment, track shipment, and track inventory as well. When these invoices are accurate, it helps to get payments out on time, shipments on time and helps the supplier understand the supply and demand of the items that they are currently selling. If you are getting inaccurate invoices, it can throw off the entire business. Without an accurate invoice, it is difficult to know how much you are selling, what you are selling, and it can lead to improper payments.
Issues with Barcodes
There are some issues when it comes to barcodes that you should also take the time to look at deeper. Inaccurate barcode scans can cost you not only money but also the speed of delivery of the items that you are selling. Erroneous scanning is going to make it hard to track what you are selling, what you have sold, and what you are producing as well. Inaccurate scanning is also going to make it challenging to maintain large-scale inventory.
Without a great deal of accuracy in your barcodes, you may have a difficult time keeping track of what you have on hand and what you are supplying. It is virtually impossible to maintain large inventory without an accurate barcode system to help catalog and keep track of inventory on hand. On top of that, inaccurate scans may also be costing you customers.
When items are repeatedly returned, have to be scanned multiple times, or are inaccurate on a relatively regular basis, customers may become aggravated with your company and may decide that working with another company is more beneficial. Time is essential and wasting the time of the people you sell to can cost you customers.
Common Scan Problems to Look For
Some common scan problems can occur with your barcodes. Knowing what some of these common errors may help you troubleshoot your barcodes and may help you to get a more accurate inventory tracking system in place. The first common error you may see is a user error. This means issues with the person that is doing the scanning. In this case, there is nothing that can be done on the part of the supplier if the issue is not with their direct employee. Proper training on how to use and maintain scanning equipment is the best way to make sure you are getting an accurate scan.
Another common issue is with handheld scanner configuration. It is important that the type of barcode being scanned is compatible with the scanner being used. This is going to help reduce issues and reduce failure rates. A laser bar code scanner, for instance, can only scan linear barcodes, while imager lasers and camera orientation scanners can read 2D barcodes. Still another error your codes may be coming up against is mechanical or electrical problems. If the scanner is not working correctly, it may not scan well.
The last issue that your barcodes may be coming up against that you have full control over is printing issues. If printing barcodes in-house, you should make sure that print heads are clean, that the disposables (ink, ribbon) in the printer are topped up, and that the printer is set up correctly. You also want to make sure you are checking printed barcodes regularly to make sure that they are still scanning easily and that they are not printing off center, that they are not printed with spots, and that they are clearly visible.
No matter what issue you are running into with your barcodes, it is important to make sure that you are presenting barcodes that are going to work well and that are going to be accurate. Barcodes are essential, and without minimizing the error margin, you could be losing money, losing customers, and losing valuable time in your operation. Taking the time to check and make sure your inventory tracking systems are correctly working can save you a great deal of hassle in the long run.