Do you plan to implement a barcode system to ensure the traceability of your products?
Barcodes are an efficient way to automate the tracking of your packages, raw materials, or finished products...
The benefits of a management system with barcode labels are numerous and attractive, but you still need to know how to use it:
To create your own labelling solution, please visit the following links:
A barcode encrypts information, using the contrasts between the black and white bars. This information can come from various sources. It is transcribed by the handheld scanner or imager that scans the label.
The handheld scanner reads the information, converts it into numeric or alphanumeric characters and automatically transmits it to your Information System or Software in use (warehouse management system, database, etc...).
The handheld scanner acts like a computer keyboard; scanning a barcode label with a reader is effectively the same as keying in all the information that is stored in the barcode design.
LABEL MATRIX, thanks to its database connections, allows you to generate serialized labels using data from an Excel file, for example.
You will then find the same data by reading the barcode label, which allows you to transmit that data automatically to your connected system:
The use you make of the information transmitted through the barcode label can be wide-ranging. See the next section for some sample barcodes and their different applications.
In most cases, a barcode is used to trace a product or its components, and it remains the same from the beginning of the assembly line until the finished product goes to market. In this case, the barcode is standardised between the different supply chain entities and therefore the type of barcode is ‘imposed’ by the system.
If you’re reading this, it’s more likely you have no specific barcode ‘imposed’ by your industry. So how should you choose your barcode?
The first question to ask yourself is what requirements must be met? Quite often, the answer to that will narrow down the list of barcode types that you can use, it may even narrow it down to a single type.
Producer marketing products via a supermarket network
A frequent scenario for an SME wanting to develop its distribution network. Supermarkets will ask you to label your products yourself and your labels will need to include a barcode for traceability. If your product is to be scanned at the point of sale, you will need to use the EAN / UPC barcode.
The EAN (European Article Number) is the European equivalent of UPC, the universal American barcode. The use of EAN is widespread, and its design is standardised based on the rules below.
EAN 13 barcode explained
To summarize, an SME that wants to distribute its products in supermarkets should first get its unique identifier from GS1 UK.
The company will then be able to edit its own EAN barcode labels using its barcode label design software.
Another scenario for using barcode labels in a microbusiness or SME can simply be for internal purposes, for example to track inventory. In this case, the constraints to define the type of barcode are different.
The criteria for selecting the type of barcode to use will vary depending on why and in what context you want to use a barcode management system, and what type of production environment you have. We cannot list all possible scenarios, as the use of barcodes can be vast.
Here are examples of issues you need to consider when choosing which barcode to use:
In this case, you should choose variable length symbologies such as GS1-128.
Editable in LABEL MATRIX.
Some barcodes consist of fewer characters and are therefore smaller in size; there is, for example, a shorter version of the EAN code with eight digits called EAN8.
Editable in LABEL MATRIX.