Barcoding technology has improved dramatically over the years. With the popularity of online commerce, managing your stock accurately has never been a higher priority, making employing effective modern technology vital to keep your business running smoothly.
With the options available to digitally integrate them into your data management, they have become an essential part of any business, large or small. As a result, many companies from various sectors have successfully embraced barcode technology and computerised inventory control solutions to create efficient working processes and make their daily work just that much easier.
Part of this popular upgrade is the introduction of barcode scanners and mobile computers. These are great ways to leave behind the inefficient paper-based systems of the past and vastly improve your existing processes. However, despite the popularity of both, there is a common misconception that these two tools are the same device, but that is not true.
What’s a Barcode Scanner?
A barcode scanner can have many different names depending on where you are. They have been known as readers, price scanners or POS (point-of-sale). They are all designed to capture the data imprinted onto a barcode with three vital components, a scanner, decoder and a computer connection. While these devices used to be wired, improved technology has provided a far more practical alternative in wireless barcode scanners.
The scanner simply translates the barcode image into numbers and letters associated with your inventory system and reveals the details. Combining a digital, in-depth inventory database to create a barcode scanning system allows for far faster stock management, whether transactions at a cashier or conducting an inventory check in the warehouse.
Different types of Barcode Scanner
There have been several types of barcode scanners, with the classic handheld ‘gun’ unit becoming the most popular.
A companion scanner is the most basic scanning device. This is usually the cheapest solution but comes at an increased cost having limited use. A fixed scanner or omni directional scanner is a stationary scanner that requires the barcode to be passed over. This is typically used for ID cards and grocery store counters.
A CCD scanner (Charge-Couple device) is the early version of the well-known handheld scanner. This scanner worked in much the same way but could only scan a barcode from roughly one inch away.
The laser scanner is a successful replacement for the CCD scanner. It uses a system of mirrors and lenses to allow the scanner to read barcodes in any orientation and distance. This adaptability makes laser scanners popular in the hectic retail environment. Our Symbol LS2208 general purpose barcode scanners match these criteria. Moreover, they are far superior to the previously mentioned alternatives as they can scan barcodes with ease anywhere from near contact to 43cm away and come equipped with multiple onboard interfaces for easy host integrations.
Whilst barcode scanners are durable and practical, they can be limited in their roles. Barcode scanners are dependent on being connected to a computer. They send the data they’ve scanned to the computer, and it updates your database. Perfect for simple data adjustments but unable to handle more complex tasks. So it’s important to know what’s best suited for each device so you can get the most out of it and maintain your productivity.
What’s a Mobile Computer?
Mobile computers may seem similar to barcode scanners considering they also have a functional barcode scanner and mobile barcoding apps, but these perform a more in-depth role. While valuable in their limited capacity, Barcode scanners can only manipulate the data in a small way. Mobile computers can provide you with far more options for finding the data you need and updating your database, all whilst on the move with its wireless capabilities. The combination of a PC and scanner in one device can give you a direct connection to your digital inventory management wirelessly.
Most handheld computers will come with a barcode scanner, such as our Zebra TC8300 Touch mobile computer. This breakthrough in ergonomic design can enhance the productivity of any warehouse by 14% with its touch screen, hot-swap battery and built-in productivity apps.
If you need a device for an entire inventory or to find multiple pieces of stock to ship out, a mobile computer is what you need. Having your complete database in your hand as you move around your premises will save you an immense amount of time and prevent any costly errors in your inventory database. They are also a great tool for communicating across your business, whether your talking to you database or colleagues. For example front line staff can gain realtime access to needed data through a mobile computer without the need to leave the shop floor and find a computer in the back room.
These useful devices include the ability to use the popular android operating systems and apps, thereby opening up a vast catalogue of computing options for your business including bespoke creations.
At GSM Barcoding, we pride ourselves on offering premium barcode systems for small businesses. With the latest mobile technology, our portable devices will allow your team to stay connected and conduct your operational processes quickly. To find out more about what would be the right choice for your business, please browse our range of barcode scanners and mobile computers. Or, if you have any questions, consider filling in the enquiry form on each product page to get in touch with us, and book your free consultation online today. Whether software or hardware, we at GSM Barcoding are confident that we have something that could help you improve your current processes and gain improved efficiency.