A barcode system is essentially a combination of Tracking Software, Labels, and Barcode Printers/Scanners. Just like ‘The Best Barcode Scanner for You‘ article, to find out the best barcode system — you must know what options are available.
Click each question to expand information.
What software is available?
Software is the brain behind a barcode system. Knowing which ones are available is paramount to deciding what kind of system is needed.
Asset Tracking (Fixed Asset) – For tracking assets (Computers, Laptops, etc.) whereabouts to see who has what, where, and when. Good for any business that loans out equipment to employees for the day or week.
Barcode Printing – For printing labels of barcode numbers such as variables and sequential. Good for any business that needs to print large volume of labels with variable data.
Check In / Check Out – For managing items (Equipment, tools, books, etc.) that are checked out or loaned to others. Good for libraries, rental shops, or equipment rental in offices, schools, and labs.
Inventory Management – For basic or advanced inventory (Warehouses, Offices, etc.) analysis & management. Good for warehouses and shipping facilities.
Warehouse Management System (WMS) – The system is feature rich with an intuitive user interface. WMS comes in three cost effective versions that maximizes efficiency and optimize labor productivity in warehouses of all sizes. Each version provides the basic functions for warehouse operations including physical inventory, shipping, receiving, and picking, as well as management features such as queries, reporting and barcode labeling.
What barcode scanner do I need?
The type of barcode scanner can affect the functionality of how you will utilize your software. The first considerations is whether you want a wired device or a wireless device:
Wired – A wired barcode scanner attaches to a terminal/computer with a cord. Wired scanners are affordable and will suffice for any simple scanning needs. This is the type of scanner you may see in retail shops at the check stand. Cost will vary depending on durability, hardware, & service/warranty options.
Wireless / Cordless / Mobile – Wireless scanners uses radio frequency, WIFI, or Bluetooth to connect to a terminal/computer — range varies. Useful for anyone that needs the distance from their terminal/computer when scanning barcodes. Mobile Computers are wireless / cordless barcode scanners with a computer attached. Cost will vary depending on durability, hardware, & service/warranty options.
(Read our ‘The Best Barcode Scanner for You‘ article to find out more.)
Afterwards, decide how you want to collect data to your software:
Scan Data on the Go – Attach a barcode scanner to your terminal / computer and each time you scan data, data is instantly entered into your software / computer.
Batch – This is for Mobile Computers. Mobile Computers store data on the device itself so when it is time to upload data you either upload a group of data at once wirelessly or through a cable.
Live – This is for Mobile Computers. The Mobile Computer is always connected to a central database and will always be up to date — even among multiple Mobile Computers.
For a Barcode Printing System, a scanner may not be necessary except for testing purposes.
What label printer do I need?
The type of label printer depends on HOW you will print:
Desktop Printers – Perfect for printing 500-1000ish labels a day without much slow down in work flow.
Tabletop Printers – For large volume printing (5000+) labels a day efficiently and accurately, Tabletop is the way to go.
Mobile Printers – If you have the need to have a printer away from the computer or barcode scanner, this is the only option.
Printers have Direct Thermal or Thermal Transfer options available — please read “What labels do I need?” to find out more.
If you already have labels with barcodes, a printer may not be necessary unless you plan to print your own barcode labels.
What labels do I need?
The first decision on what type of label needed will also determine what type of printer is necessary. To determination is to ask yourself:
“Will my labels ever be placed in direct or indirect heat? (Sun, friction, hot machinery, etc.)”
If the answer is yes, you will need Thermal Transfer Labels. If the answer is no, you will need Direct Thermal Labels.
Direct Thermal is a type of label and printer. The Direct Thermal Printer heats up the Direct Thermal Label, which is affected by heat/friction, and creates information (barcode, image, text). Good for short term use such as shipping labels since the general life span of Direct Thermal Labels before it fades too much is 1-3 months.
Basically: Printer heats up Direct Thermal Labels to create information. Direct Thermal Labels are affected by heat/friction and have a short shelf life.
Thermal Transfer is a type of label and printer. Thermal Transfer Printers requires a ribbon to print on Thermal Transfer Labels. A ribbon is like ink for Thermal Transfer. Thermal Transfer Printers transfers the ribbon (made of wax, resin, or both) onto the label. Good for long-term use. General life span of Thermal Transfer Labels before it fades is 6-12+ months.
Basically: Printer heats up a Thermal Transfer Ribbon to create information on Thermal Transfer Labels. Thermal Transfer Labels have a very long shelf life and very resistant against heat/friction.
Size, label stock, adhesive, and any other custom label work can be worked out by contacting us.
So — What is the best?
There is really no one answer because of all the variables and options with hardware and software. Knowledge about your options will help you find what you need but speaking with experts can expedite what you’re looking for. We can be your experts. Contact us — we guarantee you’ll find what you need.
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