Barcode Labels and Manufacturing Trends
Thirty five years ago, the first linear barcode label was placed on a pack of Wrigley’s bubblegum. Since then, this system of product information has been used and revolutionized. Research, however, produced 2D barcodes and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, which can store more information, and the old linear barcodes have been eventually obliterated.
The last decade brought a transformation in the manufacturing sector. The quality of products has improved and businesses gained new benefits in terms of cost reductions, accountability, accuracy and efficiency. This is due to the fact that raw materials can be tracked using barcodes throughout the manufacturing process. Barcodes and RFID tags have been made mandatory by regulatory authorities to prevent duplication and counterfeiting.
Barcodes are instrumental in the success of the latest trends in manufacturing, as elaborated by the following examples:
Barcodes and E-commerce
With technology, E-commerce has become the latest method of business. Manufacturers don’t have to ship large batches to their distributors anymore. Consumers can buy everything they need online, thus cutting out agents, middlemen and distributors in the commercial chain. Barcode labels along with scanners and handheld computers ensure accuracy in product identification and shipping.
Just-In-Time Operations and Barcodes
Cost and expenditure reduction have become the main focus of modern manufacturers. In a commercial operation, misplaced inventory and high expense result to an increased cost. The ideal solution to prevent this is to get supplies only when needed with minimal overlap and no waiting period. For this, manufacturers have started investing in JIT (Just-In-Time) inventory deliveries. The precise quantity of requirements and the time frame in which it is needed are necessary in this system. Make-to-order (MTO) requirements and other requirement sequences are part of the JIT system, which, in turn, depends on barcode and RFID technologies to track products and services.
Enterprise Resource Planning and Warehouse Management Systems
Manufacturers depend on software that help in enterprise resource planning and warehouse management for a cost-efficient business. These systems, including the JIT applications, simplify the process of knowing where a product is and what is required in a certain time. The end results are enhanced efficiency and optimal resource management.
Automated data collection, with the system tracking each component, helps in ERP systems. Once these systems are implemented, label printing solutions are applied using appropriate software. Barcodes can be added for a marked difference in performance; an upgradeable barcode technology which includes RFID systems could be a bigger asset.
Networks and Wireless Communication
Wireless communication and network connections enable printing on demand at remote locations. Computers, smart phones, and mobile printers are configured to meet the demands from faraway locations, to exchange relevant information, to communicate urgent requirements, and to improve uptime. This method saves time and labor costs.
Global Supply Chains and Multilingual Labels
With multinational companies spreading their operations into other countries, the same products have to be shipped to multiple locations and the same barcode label printed in different languages using multilingual printers. Uni-code enabled printers, which have international character printing, are used for that purpose and to save cost from otherwise expensive solutions.
Thermal technology, both direct thermal and thermal transfer, offers the best quality of durable print labels. It is used for all barcode printing applications.