Barcode technology has made it much easier for retail store, manufactures and pretty much anyone else involved in the selling/ buying process operate. It keeps consumers honest and it proves to be a valuable organizational asset for determining where certain products are and what inventory looks like within the factory.
Most barcodes work on in a similar fashion as a social security number. They are reference numbers that allow a computer to keep track of where it is and where it is going. For instance, when a factory is doing inventory, they will often scan barcodes of products to make sure that they are all there. Similarly, when a consumer returns a product the barcode can be scanned with the receipt to make sure that the two are in fact the same product. To put it basically, barcodes hold all the pertinent information about individual products.
How does barcode technology work? Barcodes work when a light source, a scanner, is swept over the barcode on the product. When this happens four things happen:
1. The scanner absorbs the barcodes lines and light spaces, reading between the white and the black spaces.
2. The ‘photocell detector’ within the scanner takes the light differences in the barcode and transmits them into an electrical signal that can be read by a computerized system.
3. A signal is uncovered by the spaces between the bars on the barcode itself (the lines themselves are not considered). The spaces equal the reflected light and they are determined by how wide and narrow they appear underneath the scanner.
4. The information discovered is then put into the computer in data form and it matches up to whatever data is matched with it, mainly price.
What advantages does barcode technology bring with it? Barcode technology keeps businesses, warehouses and consumers honest because it has a pretty high tech system that is hard to outthink. Since each barcode is different, just like everyone has a different social security number, it is very hard to cheat the system. Consumers who try to return a product without a matching receipt are generally turned down for a cash return because without the barcode on the receipt it is impossible to tell whether the product was actually purchased by that person or even bought from that store. Barcodes keep consumers honest.
Barcode scanners are also incredibly quick and incredibly accurate. Scanners work much faster then the human eye can react because in the split second it takes to scan a product (imagine going through the grocery line) all of the information regarding the product is relayed through the scanner and into the computer. It’s so accurate because most scanners only experience one mistake per 10 million scans, making mistakes very rare.
Barcodes have made life in many different retail locations and warehouses easier because they are so convenient, fast and accurate. They are used by most stores because they have superior benefits then most other ways of product organization.