When it comes to selecting a bar coding system or a tool for integrated lot tracking, there are plenty of options. But not all systems are created equal.

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you have to know what you’re looking for. We recommend the following:

1. ERP integration

Nothing is more frustrating and time-consuming for a food processor or distributor than trying to conduct business with fragmented tools. Just trying to them to communicate effectively with each other can be a full-time job.

When you compare bar coding systems, ERP integration has to be high on your list. It will empower you to allocate inventory to highly specific locations within your warehouse immediately upon receiving.

It’ll also let you see exactly how many units of a given product can fit into certain locations based on the dimensions. On the other hand, you could take the other route and invest in an ERP package that includes built-in warehouse management solutions.

2. Ease of use

There are two primary reasons that millions of customers purchase Apple iPhones over the many alternatives available on the market. The first simply has to do with branding: Apple has done a great job of that and people want an iPhone because everyone one else (seemingly) has one.

What’s the second reason? You might think it’s because the iPhone is superior in all aspects, but this isn’t the case. In fact, as many technology experts will tell you, some Android phones are actually superior in terms of specs.

The second reason people choose iPhones over the others is because iPhones are intuitive. There’s no lagging, glitches, or cumbersome processes; everything just seems to flow.

When you’re searching for a warehouse barcoding system, it’s worthwhile to ignore many of the irrelevant factors and home in on intuitive operation. You need a system that’s easy to use and allows your employees to spend less time fumbling around with complicated processes and more time focusing on end goals.

3. Customization and scalability

From the outside, your business might look nearly identical to that of your closest competitors. As you know, however, your organization may do dozens of things differently.

Since that’s the case, you can’t afford to work with a warehouse bar coding system that’s locked in place. Look for a bar coding system that’s customizable. You need the ability to tailor the solution to your specific needs and cut out processes that don’t relate to your logistics.

Also, you might need scalability: If you anticipate substantial growth, it doesn’t make sense to buy a system that only meets your current needs. Find one that will grow with your business.

4. Physical attributes

Industry expert Eva Pinter doesn’t believe there’s such a thing as a “best barcode system.” She asserts that every organization must consider a bevy of factors before it can determine which one will be the best fit.

But which factors count the most? If she had to narrow it down, she’d start by analyzing the environment. “For an industry environment, such as a production site, you will require a barcode scanner that is very resistant, sometimes water and dirt resistant,” Pinter notes. “In an environment where you have a lot of powder, you need to take also a scanner that will not allow powder to enter into the hardware.”

5. Speedy interface

Owning a warehouse bar coding system that has robust built-in features is wonderful, but it’s worthless if the system isn’t fast and efficient. That’s why speed is another critical component.

“Now that scanners are like small computers, there are lots of apps that can be loaded on them,” says Pinter. “It is important that the apps are fast and do not create unnecessary wait times within the typical workflow. A scanner must also be easy to use and help to reduce the number of mistakes.”

The only way to understand the speed and fluidity of a system accurately is to try it out yourself and speak with others who’ve used it in the past. This should give you a good picture of how it’ll perform on a daily basis.

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