The process of barcoding assets makes it simple to track these assets throughout their entire lifecycles. However, it is important to keep in mind that these labels must be able to withstand their environments and remain affixed for the life of the product. Here, you can learn the basics of barcoding assets and why you should consider it for your company.
Barcodes as Part of a Complete Package
Up until recently, companies that wanted to track assets with barcodes had to deal with quite a bit of hassle. Not only were they forced to purchase their hardware, software, or hybrid solutions from individual vendors, but they had to work with a label manufacturing company to design and print the actual barcodes and labels that were compatible with the hardware and software they purchased. This turned out to be incredibly costly. Today, companies can purchase complete solutions – including hardware, software, and barcode labels – from one reputable vendor. This makes things much simpler and less expensive at the same time.
Ordering Your Labels
Once you’ve decided to go with a complete package, you will need to procure your labels from the vendor. You can specify your unique parameters, which include the size, color, barcode type, material, adhesive type, and quantity of labels you need for your business. To put things into perspective, the most common barcode size is 2”x1” and the most common material is polyester or polycarbonate, both of which can be laminated. The most common barcode type is linear one-dimensional, which resembles the barcodes found on most of today’s products on market shelves.
Affixing the Labels
Once your equipment and labels have arrived, you will need to affix the labels to the surfaces of your assets. The best way to do this is to thoroughly clean the area where the barcode will attach, and a degreaser is best since it helps to form a strong bond. Then, apply the label to a flat, smooth surface and apply plenty of pressure for the first few minutes to activate the adhesive curing process. In some cases, it may take up to 72 hours for the adhesive to adhere completely, but once it does, the bond is permanent.
Using Barcodes to Your Advantage
Some companies choose to use the simplest solutions available to them once they have their barcodes in place. One of these involves attaching the barcode to the asset’s serial number and uploading the information to a spreadsheet. Although this can provide a quick look at your assets, it is generally not the best approach. It has many limitations, but the biggest of these is the failure to update information as it is made available. To get the most from a barcode system, the best bet is to purchase a complete solution that includes everything you need from the start.
In order to use asset barcoding to your advantage, you’ll need to make sure that the system you choose can span many years. It may also need to withstand changes in the way you keep inventory or even a change in ownership down the road.