• Jim Southern

A World Without Barcodes

The barcode has been around now for many years. Many of us may not even remember a time when they weren't attached to every product in every shop we've ever visited, supermarkets, clothes, electronics, etc.

Although barcodes had been around in a rudimentary form since the 1960's, barcodes only came into general use once the retailers got on board, more specifically the supermarkets. In 1974 the first product was scanned at the checkout - A packet of Wrigleys Chewing Gum.

Now try to imagine a world today without barcodes! What would your shopping experience be like at the Supermarket on a Saturday afternoon for example?

All the products on the shelves would have to be labelled with a price label, e.g. 50p etc. This is what they used to do in the olden days of course with a pricing gun, so before they can even put the products on the shelf for you to select and buy, they have to be priced and labelled - so let’s be clear - that's every single item in the store!

Then you come along to do your weekly shop for groceries. There's not going to be much of a change to this part of your experience, you browse the aisles, check the prices, put the items you need in your trolley and off you go to the checkout.

Now, this is where you start to see the problem. The queues are horrendous! As each shopper is being "checked out" the poor check out person has to identify each item and then key in the price for each on the till (or EPOS to the younger generation). So modern supermarkets wouldn't be able to manage unless they had 5 times the number of checkouts to cater for the throughput and number of customers. So it’s pretty clear that today, without barcodes and systems, supermarkets couldn't operate like they do, without increasing their overheads which of course always gets passed on to the customer.

So, I'm sure you would agree that it would be impossible to run modern ASDA and TESCO stores without barcodes and systems.

So how come many businesses still run their warehouses with bits of paper, pencils, and then key what's happened into their "till system" or "accounts software" to you and me? It sounds crazy but it’s true. The warehouse if often overlooked when it comes to systems and automation but the majority of products in the warehouse will have barcodes already applied, they're just not used.

A Smart Warehouse Management System like Dexterity WMS, using barcode technology, wireless networking and intelligent software will revolutionise your warehouse operation. It will also integrate with and update your financial systems for customer order invoicing etc. To finish the analogy, you'll need less check-out staff and it all happens more quickly and accurately.

Contact us now to explore the possibilities.

#nobarcodes #checkout

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