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Warehouse Barcode Systems for Food and Beverage Businesses: All You Need to Know

Warehouse Barcode Systems for Food and Beverage Businesses: All You Need to Know

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Warehouse Barcode Systems for Food and Beverage Businesses: All You Need to Know

Feb 16, 2022

Jack Payne
A warehouse worker uses a handheld barcode scanner.

Data is a powerful resource in the business world, and that truth is particularly apparent in the food and beverage industry. After all, if you want to satisfy the traceability and compliance demands of today, it’s absolutely vital to diligently collect and analyze the facts and figures associated with your products and supply chain partners.

Trouble is, gathering and recording all the necessary information by hand would require an extraordinary amount of time and effort on behalf of your employees—and they have more important tasks to accomplish anyway. That’s why you need to streamline the entire process in a single scan with a warehouse barcode system.

We’re here to cover this invaluable technology in detail with this blog post. Read on for the key reasons to put a barcode system in place, as well as the critical features to look for when comparing your options on the market.

Key Reasons to Implement a Warehouse Barcode System

First and foremost among the reasons you should consider implementing a warehouse barcode system at your food and beverage facilities is to ensure complete bidirectional traceability. You must log material and product data at every critical tracking point along the supply chain, as you need that information to both safeguard your operations from food safety emergencies and comply with regulations.

Beyond that, though, a barcode system offers several advantages over other data collection methods, including:

  • Gain greater efficiency – When an employee need only push a button or pull the trigger of a handheld scanner to capture all necessary information, the entire process becomes much less of a burden. It’s better still if you can automate the scanning step—but we’ll cover that in greater detail in the next section.

  • Eliminate human error – While your workers are dedicated professionals, they are still liable to make mistakes, forget to complete an important check or hurriedly scribble down a figure only to find it’s illegible when they need it. Barcode scanners have no such weaknesses.

  • Unlock real-time updates – Manual record-keeping includes several steps between the initial logging of the information to the time the central database is actually updated. Barcode scanners handle the process digitally and wirelessly, piping what’s collected directly into your platform.

One final benefit of warehouse barcode systems worth mentioning is the peace of mind and confidence that they provide. When you have immediate access to your data and no doubts about its accuracy, you can rely on it to make more informed decisions and drive improvement.

Critical Features for a Good Warehouse Barcode System

Above all else, it’s crucial that your barcode system can integrate with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other software solutions. If your organization doesn’t have an ERP in place yet, there are many reasons to choose one for your digital transformation—these platforms have become the gold standard for food and beverage business software.

Integration with an ERP will allow you to automate the scanning process, reducing both the amount of human intervention required as well as the time it takes to get the information into your database. Better still, the unified, cross-functional nature of ERP solutions means that everything that’s collected will also be applied to update your inventory, picking orders and production plans.

Beyond that, other features of warehouse barcode systems to prioritize in your selection include:

  • Compatibility with data-rich barcodes – The more information that can be captured with a scan, the better. Look for a system that can work with GS-1 standard barcodes, as they are optimized for density of data and adhere to a strict set of supply chain standards. It’s also a good idea to look for formats that include freshness data and expiration dates, as those concerns are vital for food safety, inventory management and customer satisfaction.

  • Easy to use – While extra settings and other additional functionality is nice, the bottom line is that your scanners and the system they connect to should be intuitive and user-friendly. Think of your staff that will be using the devices and platform day in and day out

  • Dependable hardware – This one might seem obvious, but using scanners that are suited for your facilities’ working conditions can sometimes be overlooked. Ideally, your handhelds will be durable enough for routine use over long periods, waterproof and resistant to powders, dust and dirt.

Finally, make sure that the barcode system you deploy is flexible in that it can be configured to a variety of formats and scaled to the size of your operations. After all, you wouldn’t want to outgrow your new technology as soon as circumstances change.

The Leader in Integrated ERP Systems

Barcode scanning technology is clearly a powerful tool for food and beverage companies that know the value of their data and want to maximize efficiency, accuracy and transparency in one fell swoop. The right system, combined with an industry-specific ERP solution, can jumpstart your modernization initiative and bring the plan to fruition.

That being said, conducting a cursory web search and picking a product that “seems right” is not the way to go about selecting your new platform. You want to start with the ERP as the foundational piece and thoroughly investigate your options—and Aptean should be at the top of your list of providers to check out.

Why? We have decades of collective industry experience and designed our Aptean Food & Beverage ERP based on our knowledge of best practices. Our software was also built on the framework of Microsoft Dynamics 365, so it offers all the latest updates and integrations, including those with barcode systems.

And for further proof of our platform’s superiority, take our recent recognition from Frost and Sullivan, an independent market research company that awarded Aptean the 2022 Product Leadership Award in North American ERP Software for the Food and Beverage Industry. That stands as a testament to our dedication to our clients and future-focused mindset.

Ready to hear more about Aptean Food & Beverage ERP and how it can serve as your unified platform to deploy a warehouse barcode system? Contact us today.

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