Datalinx Blog

Welcome to the Datalinx blog. Here we cover a range of posts and conversations based around our experiences of warehousing, barcoding and Sage software.

Dark Stores

I love the latest developments in warehousing and due to the increase in online shopping; companies have developed huge distribution centres dedicated purely to picking online shopping orders. The leaders of this trend are supermarkets with online food shopping sales predicted to reach £14.6bn by 2018.
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Barcode Symbology

Symbology, now there is a big word that us sophisticated consultants just love to bandy around.

But here goes for another Betty Secret, Symbology is just a flash word for a barcode language. For example, if on my holidays I travel to the Tropical Island of Sri Lanka, I will need to speak the local dialect. In the same way that there are different languages such as French, German, English etc so there are different symbologies such as Code 39, GS1-128, EAN13, etc.

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Barcode Printing

You're interested in a barcode tracking system, but you want to know what equipment you are likely to need. As a starting point most businesses I work with use the following:

  •  Barcode scanner/mobile scanning computer - model dependent on your system and requirements
  •  Stock Control / Inventory Control /Barcode tracking software
  •  Barcode label software package (dependant on your requirements)
  •  Barcode label printer

The number of barcode scanners you require, obviously depends on your business setup and staff. If you work a shift pattern then you may decide to share scanners between shifts(cutting your initial outlay).

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Barcode Label Media

When it comes down to it you want a label that is the right size for your product, packaging and shelving and will contain all the information you need it to. You want it to stick and not peel off until it’s time to remove it. Most importantly, you need to be able to scan the barcode printed on the label.

The best result is usually obtained from a combination of barcode printer, label stock, printer ribbons and barcode label software. Your hardware or label supplier is usually the best person to advise you on this, as they will know your printer and the most suitable accessories for it. 

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Barcode History

Now, many people have written about the history of barcodes and you may have noticed that on 7 October 2009 Google celebrated the 57th Anniversary of the date the 1st patent was taken out against a barcode (and yes the barcode did scan and display the word GOOGLE)!

If you google barcode history you will find a huge amount of in depth detail about barcodes, however, here's Betty's Barcode History in a Nutshell...

The idea of creating a code that could be tracked in an automated manner was first explored in 1932. A group of students, headed by Wallace Flint, at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration explored a project that proposed using punched cards to select products from a catalogue that would then be provided to the shopper. Over the years various people explored and tried to develop this idea but it was a case of the idea being ahead of affordable and available technology.

The first barcode design to be patented was the bulls eye barcode (in 1949), which was created as a set of concentric circles that could be scanned in any direction.

It was the 1960’s before barcoding really made an impact on society, which was when it was developed to track railroad cars across the USA. However, even this was considered too expensive at the time to be put in practise in a fully commercial format.

In the 70’s barcoding moved forward a giant leap when a Marsh’s supermarket in the USA had the first U.P.C scanner installed. The bit of trivia that everyone remembers is that the first product scanned by this new scanner was a packet of Wrigley’s Gum!

However it wasn’t until the 1980’s that technology caught up with the barcode. It was during this period that the Department of Defense in the USA started to use Code 39 to mark all goods sold to their military. 30 years on and the USA Military are still using the LOGMARS system with code 39 symbology.

If you want to find out more, just google barcode history and have a read. At my last count there were over 3.7 million entries!

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