Barcodes, product codes and labelling in tracking systems

How to label - print or preprint?

A barcode tracking system must have a code identity for each product and location. This can be your own internal stock code or the suppliers stock code Some items will arrive with barcodes on them already, others will need to have one attached. IF you want to use your own stock codes then PASS will print barcodes as the stock items are logged in. For fixed assets you can use pre-printed labels or tags and stick them to the items permanently.  For incoming mail either labelling system is ok. It depends on which is most convenient in your own situation. Once fixed to the items the PDAs or scanner guns read the barcodes and log them into the system

Barcodes and RFID Tags

Barcodes are just a set of vertical lines representing an item code which makes it quick and easy to enter on a system. Barcode tracking systems require all the tracked items to have a unique identity. Where there are thousands of items to be tracked this means that the identifying number or code is probably going to be more that a few digits and characters which in turn means that there is a high risk of input error when recording their location or condition. For this reason barcodes and RFID tags are used to minimise the errors and a side benefit is that it is a lot quicker.

Batch numbers and serial numbers

There is a difference between inventory items like stock and non inventory items like assets. In the case of inventory items these can be split further into consumables and saleable stock. So for commodity items and consumables within your inventory you need a single identity to cover each item type. You may also need a batch number B4567 to identify the batch in case of customer complaint. For example if you are selling flour you will have a product code for flour, say P1234, but each consignment of flour that arrives will have its own batch number. For internal consumables like A4 paper however this is not necessary. For unique assets such as Laptops or phones you will have a generic code but also a barcode serial number so that each one can be identified uniquely.  In this way you can easily see the number of laptops you have in total but if you need to search for a specific one you have its unique identity as well.
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