The Big Barcode Guide – Building a Barcoding Solution

Morning!  Dark and dingy again here in the North of England!!  Today I was going to take a look at selecting the right barcode to use for your project and I’m going to keep things really simple here.  This little guide applies to any barcoding solution, for Rugged PDA’s or Barcode Scanners so it should help regardless.  Remember barcodes are very complex little animals when you scratch the surface so if you’re having trouble or have any kind of specialist requirement, that’s when a little chat with us will work wonders for you.

I’m going to do this by way of a 5 point process to follow and cover off 1 basic step every day.  All of them are linked to right here to make up a mini series for you:

  • Step 1 – Assess your Environment – This article!
  • Step 2 – Assessing your Barcode Information and ID Needs
  • Step 3 – Select your Barcode Symbology
  • Step 4 – Selecting the right barcode label
  • Step 5 – Select your barcode scanning Hardware
  • Step 6 – Test and tweak

Step 1 – Assess your Environment

The biggest mistake we see people making when we step in to a barcode solution is that they simply haven’t done the basic ground work , going headlong into a project, forgetting that a few simple things will save them so much time, effort and money in the long run.  Here’s some top tips to get you thinking.

Your Barcode Scanning Environment will impact your solution hugely – Take Heed of it!

Tip 1 – Firstly you need to stop, take a step back and take a look what you are actually planning on doing.  Try and do a user assessment, it doesn’t have to be complex but just spending time talking to them, giving them a demo rugged PDA to play with and watching them will save you time and money later on.

Tip 2 – Look at the environment you are going to be scanning your barcodes in.  Is it a warehouse, which can be surprisingly difficult to scan in, is a retail environment or are you in the field.  Will there be good light, poor light, direct sunshine or anything that could affect the equipment or labels you use?

Tip 3 – Do the assets you scan already have a barcode?  You can use the UPC on already on them.  Is the a need for a specialist label at all?   Water, weather, wood, metal etc and the actual job at hand will play a part in the effectiveness of the final solution.

Tip 4 – Assess the actual life of the asset bearing the barcode.  When and where will it be scanned.  Think of a basic courier application.  Parcels are on lorries, in warehouses, on vans, off vans, and they are scanned as they pass through this process.

Tip 5 – Will there be other barcodes on the asset?  How do you stop people scanning the wrong one?  Does this affect your barcode solution at all?

Tip 6 – What information do you need to hold in the barcode.  Will it be a simple ID tag, does it need to hold more than just numbers or text?  Is there a lot of information required to be held, does data need to be kept secure or does it need to be overtly insecure.

Tip 7 – Lastly think about the life of the barcode itself, do they last for years as an ID, more like a product UPC barcode or are they be destroyed quickly, more like a delivery waybill or ticket barcode?

Tomorrow we’ll look at Step 2 – assessing your Barcode Information and ID Needs

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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