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When we talk about switching to reusable containers in your enterprise supply chain, one topic we can’t seem to get away from is serialization. Serializing reusable containers – typically by assigning each one a unique number and a barcode label – allows us to track each one individually to gather data about where and how it’s used.

Applying a simple barcode decal to each reusable is not only an affordable serialization method, but capturing the barcodes via handheld scanner or mobile application is accurate, fast, and reduces the chance of manual entry errors. These advantages have led to barcodes being deployed throughout supply chains around the world.

Reduce Errors

Data entry errors can end up costing you, and can lead to additional freight costs, time lost searching for inventory, and unsatisfied clients. Barcode labeling and handheld scanners automate the entire data capture process, and reduce the possibility of human error.

One error per every three hundred characters entered is typical for human data entry. The accuracy of barcode scanners can be as precise as a single error in 37 million characters, when using Code 128 barcode type. Other barcode types can be even more accurate.

Save Time

Time savings can be significant when scanning barcodes over recording data manually. This is exemplified when employees must take inventory or conduct an internal audit.

Manually recording the serial numbers of a shipment of 200 reusable containers – even if captured 100% accurately – might take a warehouse worker more than an hour to accomplish.  Scanning the same quantity of barcodes would be accomplished in a couple of minutes – valuable time saved in a busy supply chain environment!

Cut Costs

Barcode labels are easy to apply and inexpensive to generate. When intelligently deployed, they can save time and reduce errors, resulting in a reduction of costs. Time wasted tracking down the location or status of reusable containers, the product associated with the containers, or many other objects that move within an organization is irreplaceable. Items that are determined to be lost must be repurchased entirely, costing your enterprise even more.

While the use of RFID-embedded tags has some advantages over barcoding, capturing barcode labels remains a reliably-accurate and comparatively-inexpensive method of serialization. Simple to deploy, and easy to capture, barcoding should be used whenever something needs to be accurately identified or tracked.

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