4 Components of a Well-Designed Barcode System (2 of 4)

What is required? What are the steps? And in what order?

Select the Software Application – Find a Partner

If you already have ERP software, it probably has barcode capability, so that’s the first place to look.  A word of caution – not all ERP software does a good job at utilizing barcode tracking.  So even if it has a barcode module make sure it does what you need.  If not, find an alternative solution that can integrate with your ERP for those data points you want uploaded to your accounting system.

The steps for choosing the application work whether it’s inventory management, traceability, asset management or tracking evidence, etc.

  1.  Determine your requirements and make a flow chart (as above).
  2. Put together your ideal budget.  You may need to modify it as you go along, but you need a starting point.  This will help you hone in on the software providers that are within your budgetary parameters.  No need to waste your time or theirs if they are priced too high.
  3. Make sure the software provider understands your business.  This is critical.  If they don’t understand your terminology or your processes they aren’t the right partner for you.
  4. Which brings us to this:  Consider your software provider a true partner.  It will be important over time that you can communicate – both ways.  You need to understand them and vice versa.  They will be working with you for a long time.  Make sure you are happy with their initial responsiveness and support.  That will be a leading indicator as to how you will be treated once the system is installed.
  5. Take the time to have the provider demonstrate their software to your satisfaction.  They should be willing to show it to as many of your staff as you think necessary.  Buy-in from all persons in your company who will be key users is important.
  6. Go with your instincts.  References are important, but realize that most companies will only give you the contacts that are happy with their system, not the ones who had trouble with it.  If the partnership feels right it probably is.
  7. And last, but not least, make sure they understand barcode technology.  Again, not all software providers are barcode experts.  If they don’t know barcoding and you still want to install their software, make sure they have a great barcode hardware/media partner that works hand-in-hand with them.  Barcode integration isn’t very complicated, but it does require experience.

Once the application and the software are selected, the next step is to select your labeling method and design.  Surprised?  This is so important that one major barcode manufacturer’s tag line is “It All Starts With The Label!”