Barcode scanners are crucial for managing an industrial warehouse. If you run one, you know this. What you might not know is how to optimize performance with them.

Choose The Right Numbering Scheme

What numbering scheme should you use? If you learned that you shouldn’t start with “0” the hard way, you probably did what everyone else did – reformatted with a numbering scheme using 6 digits. But, maybe you need a system that starts with a letter.

If you have a large warehouse (and even if you don’t), lettering helps you organize by zones, and this can be important when your product line is spread out or when you have the same product stored in two different locations in the warehouse for logistical reasons.

Choose The Right Software

What kind of tracking software do you use right now? If you’re not using this asset tracking software, you may be missing out on some important data capture and management features. A lot of companies take the approach that they will spend the least amount of money on tracking as possible, because all they need is the ability to perform simple entry and tracking.

But, good tracking software is capable of so much more. Inventory management, for example, lets you keep track of inventory turnover, can be integrated into sales and marketing, and can be tied in with your accounts receivable so you can minimize waste and fraud, avoid overstocking items, and minimize the risk of backorders.

Choose The Right Scanner

Not all barcode scanners are the same. Simple linear barcodes are read with linear barcode scanners. But, they cannot read more advanced 2D barcodes or QR codes.

Linear codes are barcodes that are comprised of a series of vertical lines with numbers under them. They encode simple information about an item. 2D codes, on the other hand, are more dynamic. They can store images, webpages, websites, contact information, and all of the information can be updated on the backend through software.

QR codes are important if you have products with “enhanced” product or item information, or if you need the ability to pull up a schematic or image of the item when you scan it. Items that are boxed before shipping, or items where it’s not clear what they do unless or until they are powered on or installed, may require special scanning and enhanced information so that it’s easier to assess what the item is.

2D scanning also makes it easier to import information from your warehouse to a website, updating inventory automatically.

Choose Wireless For Increased Performance

If you need high-speed scanning, or you have a lot of items that need to be scanned at once, opt for a wireless scanner. Wireless scanners allow you to leave items where they are so that you can go to the item to scan it. They work much like traditional wired scanners except that they operate using bluetooth or IR.

Use The Right Scanner

Make sure you’re using the right scanner for the job. Remember, 2D scanners can read both 2D and linear codes, but linear scanners can only read linear codes.

Greg Williams is a warehouse worker. He likes writing about his experiences on the web. Look for his posts on many business and industrial blogs.