We hear the statement “disadvantages of barcode scanners” from time to time and as we probe the customers that believe this we find a common theme. Most customers that believe there are disadvantages of barcode scanners are customers that are not using them and keep a well managed manual system in place because it works for them.
Many manufacturers and distributors still manage inventory on log sheets and with index card systems. This was a tried and true method for years, but in todays world of speed and error free work, you should not rely on your employees always getting the number right. The advantage of the barcode scanner is that it reads what is there. There is no way the scanner can transpose numbers or recognize the number 0 as a letter o or a number 1 with a letter l. There are many human error elements that lead to duplicate work because of errors and the barcode scanner prevents the errors of transposing and mis-reading number and letter characters.
Now the disadvantages of barcode scanners are usually perceived as cost, change, and durability of the rough environment that customers may think, there is no way we can automate. Well, lets look at each disadvantage at a time.
The disadvantage of a barcode scanner because of cost is a real easy one to tackle. The costs have really come down on both inventory management software packages and barcode scanning hardware. The payback in time saved due to error free work and the speed in which cycle counts and inventories can be done can provide a return on the investment within 3-4 months. Not bad!
The disadvantage of barcode scanners when it comes to change is referencing change to the work place. Many organizations that have been in business for many years have really tweaked their processes and have many employees that have been trained and know the current way of doing things. Well, to keep up with the competitive nature of business, change must be a part of the plan. Adding barcode scanning capabilities is really not that big of a change. If you think about it, the scanner really only writes the data for the employee. So, it really does not change much, it just makes the process easier and employees usually embrace it. Really, who likes to hand right everything anyway?
Now we are down to the last issue of durability as a disadvantage of barcode scanners. Today, barcode scanners are designed for all kinds of environments from libraries to industrial steel plants. If durability is what you want, take a look at this workhorse that has been around for over 10 years. It is the Quick Scan 6000, now replaced by the QS3800. This scanner is known as the Hammer! Over the years it has been run over by forklifts, dropped from high ladders, covered in ash and it still keeps scanning. There are many newer models in the market today, but that is an example on durability in a barcode scanner.
So, now I ask, what are the disadvantages of barcode scanners? If you have any thoughts that were not covered here, let us know. We are extremely interested in hearing from you.