Barcodes: Improving Manufacturing One Scan at a Time

How barcodes can improving manufacturing processesWhat did we do before barcodes? Many of you may not remember a time when the use of barcodes wasn’t prevalent. To purchase $50 in groceries, which used to be a lot of food, you would have to wait for the checker to enter every item manually into the register, literally taking 15 minutes. Now you don’t even have to deal with a checker, just self-check yourself at the grocery store. Not only do you save time, the use of barcodes improves efficiency and above all, accuracy. Yet for some reason, barcodes and their uses remain mysterious to many people.

Many of us in the manufacturing industry don’t go a day, let alone an hour, without using a barcode reader of some type. With IQMSmanufacturing ERP software, EnterpriseIQ, every area of the manufacturing side of the software involves barcode scanning. Could you imagine performing physical inventory without it? Or how about picking 20 items to a pick ticket without a scanner? And since it’s all done with a scanner, you can ensure accuracy and traceability. And those are just the basics.

You can receive in product from vendors with their own barcodes already assigned and automatically have them assigned an internal serial number. You can scan foreign serial numbers and fill a box and pallet using the module, ScanLine. How about automatically printing and scanning pallet labels through our program, PalletWrapper? A lot of this technology has been around for years at IQMS. And although you may be busier than ever, you’d be a lot busier without using a scanner.

At IQMS, we never stop improving the software to make it easier for our users to go about their daily responsibilities. Not too long ago, we added the ability to clock in and out of a task and enter the task or work order number all from a pre-printed barcode through the use of a scanner. No more user mistakes. In ShopData, IQMS users can print and scan labels to add to inventory, right on the shop floor with one simple scan.

Your vendors can print your barcode labels and adhere them to inventory before shipping it to you through our Vendor Portal tool. And most recently, we added the ability to scan to inventory from our latest product: the RTStation device. You should have seen my amazement when one of our developers was walking around with a wireless USB scanner, scanning inventory, clocking in and out of jobs and performing SPC inspections, all on the RTStation!

Relatively speaking, barcode technology hasn’t changed much in almost 50 years. Interesting fact, the patent for barcodes was issued in 1952!  Barcodes were first used commercially in 1966. The exception is the advancement of QR barcodes, which with the help of social networking, have presented all kinds of new marketing opportunities.

We have also seen recent advancement in interactive barcode consumerism. Want to know the price of the paper towels in your cart? Most major stores have price scanners that allow you to look up the price of an item without waiting for someone in the store to help you. Or how about using ShopSavvy to scan in the barcode of your favorite shampoo? Not only does it tell you the local stores that carry your shampoo, it tells you the store with the lowest price! With these two recent advancements in barcodes, barcodes might remain a mystery to some, but who cares?! It’s OK to take them for granted.

At IQMS, we understand the importance of barcodes in the manufacturing plant. So feel free to move about the EnterpriseIQ software using reliable, user-friendly and traceable barcode activity (And if you are looking to invest in scanners, don’t forget, IQMS now sells hardware, including scanners!).

Tina Jolicoeur, IQMS Director of Quality Assurance, previously worked for 15 years in the telecommunications field. Tina is responsible for growing and cultivating IQMS' quality assurance department.