You know that feeling you get when there’s an instant connection between two people? Well that’s what happens when a 2D barcode scanner walks into a warehouse. Both are happy on their own, but together they accomplish great things, such as:
- Significantly streamline processes
- Comply with legislative mandates
- Turn sluggish sales around
- Make customers happy
- Achieve the next level of productivity and profitability that organizations desperately desire
And more and more warehouses are realizing this. According to Honeywell, a recent VDC Report found that “the average annual growth in the 2D imaging sector is likely to be in the region of 17 to 22 percent.” They deem this an impressive growth rate for any technology.
So, 2D barcodes are popular. Is that the attraction to warehouses? What does make the pairing of a warehouse and 2D barcode scanner so successful?
They enjoy advantages other couples don’t
According to Motorola, warehouses that partner with 2D barcode scanners have a ‘leg up’ on the competition. “Historically, laser scanners have been the preferred technology in warehousing because of their speed, accuracy, and ability to read at long range. However, as 2D barcodes become more common and imaging technology matures, manufacturers are now discovering what imagers have to offer in terms of flexibility, traceability, and legislative standards compliance.”
It’s true. 2D scanners do offer distinct advantages over their competition, the once-popular laser scanner.
- 2D barcode scanners read both 1D and 2D barcodes, which is great news for warehouses that need to expedite processing. Instead of using two devices for one task, employees can use one scanner for several tasks! (And, they are backwards compatible.)
- Reading damaged or poorly printed barcodes is also a 2D scanner plus. Warehouses simply say “so long” to missed or inaccurate reads when teamed up with 2D imagers.
- Warehouse workers can quickly and easily capture barcodes from any angle when partnering with omnidirectional 2D barcode scanners. This really helps when reading those hard-to-reach barcodes on shelf-tops and stacks.
- 2D barcodes can carry around thousands of alphanumeric characters, while linear (1D) barcodes can only manage 25 or so. Yikes. Bigger bundles of characters mean more data to save and share, which benefits every operational arm of the warehouse.
They easily adapt to others’ needs
Warehouses aren’t exactly the coziest of places. Limited storage space, constantly moving products, and time-crunched employees compete for attention on crowded shelves, aisles, and docks.
2D barcode scanners effortlessly adjust to warehouses’ many needs. For example, 2D barcodes are physically smaller than linear ones, making them an ideal fit for warehouse racks, which tend to be narrow and vary in height. In situations like this, coupling with a long-range 2D barcode scanner makes sense. Motorola shares one such example.
A food manufacturer placed very small and dense 1D barcodes on narrow vertical racks in their warehouse storage areas for locating goods. Because the labels were only decodable at short distances, the forklift operator had to leave the forklift to scan them. The simple solution was to use Data Matrix barcodes, which fit easily on the narrow racks and a 2D Symbol scanner that can decode them from up to 10 feet. The forklift operator can now remain on the forklift and efficiently collect all the picking information needed.
Direct sunlight can also prove troublesome for warehouse workers using traditional barcode scanners to read barcodes on inventory stored outdoors. 2D area imagers eliminate this frustration and potential roadblocks by accurately capturing barcodes on items positioned in bright, sunny locations.
You can depend on them
Did you know that the only moving part on a 2D scanner is the trigger switch?
Less moving parts means less chance of equipment failure, which is a situation warehouses try to avoid at all costs. Stanton McGroarty explains: “The time and cost to repair an equipment breakdown are three to five times what it takes to make a planned repair of the same equipment, prior to failure.”
Ouch. Good thing industrial 2D barcode scanners have improved alongside warehousing processes. Technology advancements on today’s imagers ensure:
- Accurate read rates nearly 100 percent of the time for simplified compliance with regulations
- Survival of multiple drops onto concrete at standard distances ranging from 4 to 6.5 feet or more for lasting performance in fast-paced environments
- Superior resistance to liquids and dust particles due to advanced IP sealing ratings that protect 2D devices
- Germ-free operations, thanks to models with disinfectant-ready housings that withstand repeated cleanings with harsh chemicals
Their relationship doesn’t require extra effort
Here’s the deal. 2D barcode scanners use area imager scan engines that capture digital pictures (images) of barcodes by flashing light onto multiple rows of tiny light bulbs. This is why they can correctly read damaged codes or ones that are poorly printed.
This capability also makes the 2D barcode scanner pretty flexible, which is a characteristic every busy warehouse looks for when selecting a barcode scanner. Every employee has a different purpose and must scan different items in different locations at different times. When paired with the right 2D imager, employees can:
- Automatically scan low-density and high-density barcodes on items that are extremely close or far away without changing settings
- Easily demonstrate proof of receipt or delivery by digitally capturing signatures on-the-spot
- Effortlessly minimize fraud by storing images of damaged goods, items that fail inspections, and products of inferior quality
And with Intermec’s declaration that “Mid-sized warehouses lose approximately 3,000 hours a year due to workforce inefficiencies,” investing in a sound relationship with versatile a 2D barcode scanner makes good business sense.
They can live harmoniously for years
Everybody wants a great ROI, right? That certainly holds true for warehouses, which according to Supply Chain Digest are facing mounting challenges as technology is rapidly changing and on-premise solutions are moving to the cloud, which allows companies to “make changes to their solution without having to worry about a negative ripple effect to other parts of the operation.”
What role do 2D scanners play in this transformation?
By being able to quickly and correctly read nearly every barcode out there, 2D imagers are future-proofing warehouses. Yes, their upfront costs may prove a little painful at first, but the benefits from this sound relationship far outweigh those of laser scanners. The trusted durability, versatility, and dependability of 2D barcode scanners are winning warehouses over as they grow together in their ever-changing worlds.
Are you ready to take your scanning relationship to the next level? Contact System ID at 888.648.4452 for a personal consultation on making the switch to 2D barcode scanning.
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