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Any business, small or large, that trades products or goods needs to establish an efficient and cost-effective inventory system. Barcodes have been the industry standard for inventory tracking for over 40 years now, but they are still the most effective system applicable today, even with all the advances in modern technology.
For inventory purposes, 1D barcodes are still the most popular, supporting either the Universal Product Code (UPC) in the US or the International Article Number (EAN) for other countries. These codes can store between eight and 30 characters; some can store letters and numbers.
A more recent technology is the 2D barcode, with QR codes and Datamatrix being the most popular. These are often used as object descriptions as these can store up to 7,000 characters depending on the type of code you get.
Once you’ve decided on the type of barcode to use, you need to select the right type of barcode scanner. The three main categories are laser, linear imager and 2D area imager. Laser scanners are the least expensive and limited to 1D codes. Linear image scanners only read 1D codes and take pictures of them for a computer to analyze. 2D area imagers can decode much more advanced 2D codes.
There are online resources if you want to generate your own barcodes and QR codes for internal use. However, if you plan to sell your products to distributors, you need to incorporate either the UPC or EAN into your barcodes.
• Barcodes are efficient for inventory management
• 1D barcodes store less data but are more affordable
• Datamatrix and QR codes are types of 2D barcodes
Source: Nicholas Baker, Special to Classifieds
The writer is a freelancer