It’s All about the Barcode Label – 6 Questions to Help you Decide

Installing a New Barcode System? Start with the Label!

The best advice I can give to a company that is planning to implement a new barcode system is that it all starts with the label.Barcoding automates manual processes by allowing users to scan a barcode where they would usually be required to manually input data. This needs to be consistant throughout your process, whether it’s tracking tools and equipment, documents, or costing a job on the production line. Logically, it is easy to conclude that without some kind of barcode label for users to scan, the automated process will fall apart. Additionaly, if your barcode labels are hard for the scanner to read or if it falls off, then you’ve defeated the productivity and accuracy of your new system – the reason you implemented it in the first place!

There are a number of questions you need to ask yourself about what you want to label:

1. How large is the item?

There are very large and very small barcode labels, and multiple reasons for choosing each. For example, if you need to scan boxes that are on high shelves, the barcode will need to be fairly large. In contrast, if you want to label a small tool, such as a screwdriver, you’ll need a very small barcode label. We have customers who purchase labels as large as 14” long and as small as 3/8” in diameter.


2. How far away will the scanner be from the barcode?

If the scanner will be a long distance from the barcode label then the label may need to be larger and possibly retro-reflective. On the other hand, in order to scan a very small barcode from a close distance, a high density scanner may be required.

3. Will the barcode label encounter any harsh environments (extreme cold, water, excessive heat, abrasion, sunlight, harsh chemicals, etc..?)

There are various label materials and adhesives available. The synthetic materials work in moist environments; laminated labels are recommended if abrasion is expected; different adhesives work for extremely cold or hot locations.

4. Will the label need to perform any function other than provide a barcode for scanning?

For example, we have customers who use human readable data such as icons, numbers and pictures or even color coded labels for various purposes.

5. How long will the label be used?

A direct thermal label may work for short-term use (this would save some money) but won’t work for labels that experience heat, sunlight or need to last a long time.

6. Does it need to look “pretty” or utilitarian?

Barcode labels can be produced in colors, and have logos, even pictures, preprinted on them. For example, we have had furniture manufacturers and wineries ask for finished product labels that reflect their branding to the consumer while still meeting their business needs.

Want more information?

The answers to these questions will not only provide you with the specifications for the label, they will assist you in selecting the appropriate barcode printing and scanning technologies, which are often dependent on the working environment and the type of barcode label.

For More Information Contact a Dynamic Systems Representative >