In the wake of COVID-19, warehouses look to implement scalable processes to manage unpredictable demand. Emerging technologies are focused on refining the warehouse operations with QR codes especially in managing the inventories.
Inventory management in manufacturing industries has become more complicated. Earlier, organizations tracked their inventory through manual entry. This method worked well when there were fewer parts to count. But this method is not efficient to sort and keep track of larger inventories.
Denso Wave Corporation created QR codes in the 1990s to encode more information on a product label. This type of label aids in the organisation of complex warehouse operations and increases consumer outreach. It is a great way to store relevant information about products in-store for those who have used spreadsheet-based solutions.
WHAT IS A QR CODE?
QR codes (short for “Quick Response”) are two-dimensional barcodes. You can scan them in both directions i.e vertically and horizontally. Instead of a single linear sequence of black lines and white spaces, you’ll get small square codes that convey a lot of information about product details
The QR code’s pixelated pattern strengthens its ability to store information. A single QR code stores more than 4,000 characters. The code can include product information as well as links to images, videos, and dedicated websites. Employees and customers can gain knowledge of important details about the part or product they’re looking at.
QR codes are more adaptable and have far more capabilities than one-dimensional barcodes. You can save product details, batch numbers, serial numbers, and other information. QR codes can assist you in tracking a batch number or determining where a product was manufactured or imported from. QR codes are also secure because the data can be encrypted.
THE PERKS OF USING A QR CODE FOR WAREHOUSING
Because QR Codes can hold more information than Barcodes, they were originally developed to modernize large inventory management systems. Today, they are used in many warehousing systems to manage large product volumes.
The following are some of the advantages of using QR codes for refining warehouse operations over barcodes.
QR codes are 360 degrees scannable and you can scan them from any direction. Assume you’ve placed a slanted QR Code on your product. You can scan it and it is directed to the key information.
When you encode information in a QR code, it does not grow vertically. Data modules are used to store the information contained in QR Codes. As a result, the QR Code becomes denser as more information is added.
As a result, QR Codes are small. It occupies less space and can easily place it on products of very small size.
QR codes can store significantly more information and you can add up to 7,089 characters while one-dimensional barcodes can only store around 20-25 characters. Qr codes can store product information, website URLs, and plain text and maintain detailed information about every piece of Inventory.
An advantage of QR codes over barcodes is that a scanner can read partially damaged QR codes. QR codes can withstand up to 30% of damage. Miscounts caused by multiple scans of the same item are also excluded by QR codes.
THE BENEFITS OF USING CODE BASED OPERATIONS
The use of code technology in warehouse operations bring some of the following benefits:
Speed and Accuracy
Code-based operations allow for faster and more accurate data transfer which benefits the tracking of materials. You can track exactly the items location and can help speed up the processes. It saves your organisation time in responding to inquiries and changes. As it provides timely data information about products, it enhances warehouse productivity and maintains accurate inventory management.
Data capture that is quick and accurate reduces paperwork and the risk of errors. If an employee scans the particular code, the item gets entered. This capability eliminates errors when manually entering a damaged code.
Code-based scans are fast, reliable, and less time-consuming than manual data entry. When scanners read the codes, their graphics are quickly and accurately translated to a display without the errors often associated with manual data entry.
CHALLENGES IN THE ADOPTION OF QR CODES
It’s important to choose a system that works best for your organization. Not every company requires or desires to store so much data in a tracking code. They only require the SKU, price, and the ability to check it in or out of their system.
Many organisations already use barcode-based asset tracking and inventory management systems. For these organizations, removing labels and relabeling them with QR codes is not cost-effective and can be a time-consuming one. This could explain why QR codes haven’t taken off as quickly as expected. Implementing the QR codes scanners are much more expensive than barcode scanners.
According to Future Marketing Insights, the global QR code market was valued at $996.8 million in 2018 and is expected to increase annually by 8.7% between 2019 and 2027. The growing popularity of QR codes speaks volumes about the digital transformation that will occur shortly!