BAR CODE SECRETS
Coupled with computer databases
and decoding logic, bar code labels can be made to serve as complex information carriers.
By now, most of us know that bar codes are used
for fast, super-accurate identification of product, or for error-free scanning of data
into a computer. Furthermore, by using completely automatic laser scanners, product
movement can be tracked, as cartons or pallets move from place to place.
The many possibilities for the best use of this
fast, accurate and sophisticated technology are not always so obvious. Lets explore
some of its problem solving capabilities.
Bar code aliases
Problem: Bar codes are too long.
Solution: Use a 2 to 4 character
"alias" instead of the full length code.
A 2 character alpha-numeric code has 1156
different combinations (excluding L and O.) 3 characters have 39,304 combinations. An
additional "check" character gives only a 3% chance that an incorrectly keyed
value is accepted.
Advantages of encoding:
Easy to correctly key enter.
Easy to find the label ID visually
when searching for a pallet.
Easy to remember.
Bar code prints fast with little
Easy to scan as it is less
angle-dependent than a long label.
Takes up less room you can
use a smaller label.
Multiple format bar codes
Different items require different
categories of information in the bar code.
Solution: Use a variety of bar code formats
to satisfy the different needs.
Company ID and Part number
IBMX1234567 (company=IBM, Part #1234567.)
Part number and quantity
1234567X1234 (Part #1234567, quantity=1234.)
Part number and serial number
1234567X123456789 (Part #1234567, serial# =123456789.)
Alpha-numeric code such as 3 of 9.
Variable length format permitted.
Custom decoder software this
then is how each of the above formats would be decoded and sent to PC:
Reusable bar-codes for ID
Problem: How to identify an order
Use a reusable, short bar code.
Bar coded totes divert only to
zones with picks, bypassing others.
Wooden "slave" pallet has
the bar code permanently attached.
Reusable clip-on bar code tabs for
Implementation: Initial bar code
scan station to associate code with order number. May use OCR, document print sequence, or
document bar code.
Large, easy to read bar codes and
Low cost because they are reused
Uses inexpensive scanner
Build in redundancy
Problem: Murphys Law applies
even with bar codes!
Solution: Build in the ability to
double-check everything (even if you rarely use it.)
Verify product# to slot#.
Verify order# to group of part
numbers in order.
Verify calculated weight
Reuse emptied slots immediately for
received product, to verify the slot was really emptied.
Replenish to fill slot. This
insures you put product in correct slot. Also bar code verify with slot or product label
Use a portable bar code terminal
for slot directed cycle counts. This is much faster than product directed cycle counts.
INTELLIGENT SHIPPING LABEL
Note below, how much information is encoded
into a relatively small bar code by use of multiple fields, encoding of data (carton
number), and use of a computer lookup table (order information.)
Graphic of intelligent shipping label
If you don't find what
Some Recent Testimonials
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you are very welcome for the references. You may not know
this but we RAVE about the suggestions you made to us for
our "Distribution Center", and how right your
suggestions were…" Dan G.,
Pres., Pipersville, PA.
forward to having you involved for our DC implementation plan
and in future endeavors as well. Your input was extremely
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Brent T., President Jacksonville, FL
is incredibly difficult - I would never have been able
to do this without all your great help"! Dave W.,
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I wanted to say that all your suggestions work great! Thanks so much.
Secondly, in the later part of May, we will be moving out of our current
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know it has been a while, but we finally signed on a new
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Jeff L., Operations Manager, Victoria, BC, Canada.
received the final report, thanks for the summary of findings
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proud to say that our first day of production in our new
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