When managing inventory, the use of barcode scanning technology is essential to track parts throughout the cycle of receipt, storage, handling and usage.
Proving to be vital in warehouse operations across many industries, the benefits of barcode scanning are clear:
- Live data collection - improved efficiency over time via live data collection
- Reduction of human error - > 99% accuracy
- Simplification of records (paperless)
Barcodes themselves exist in many different forms and so do the devices used to scan them. While technological advancements have narrowed the features gap between barcode scanning devices, a primary differentiator remains – Price.
Below, we’ll highlight the three distinct categories of barcode scanning devices, their primary features and, most importantly, the costs associated with each.
1) Mobile computers with integrated scanners
As the rugged beasts of the barcode scanning world, these do-it-all devices are typically equipped with Windows or Android operating systems, screens, flexible memory/storage and support for a full range of barcode symbology.
- Windows Mobile 6.5
- 43 key keyboard
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- 3.7” VGA Color Touchscreen
- Laser scanner
- Cost: $2,509.10 via BarcodesInc
Pro: Fully mobile & powerful
2) Handheld barcode scanners
By far the most common type of barcode scanning device, handheld scanners are ergonomic and simple, but they do need an interface cable or built-in networking signal to transfer data in real time.
- Connects to PC with USB cable
- Scans 1D, colored barcodes up to 12”
- 230-450 scans per second decode rate
- Bi-color LED technology
- Cost: $149.00. via Wasp Barcode
Pro: Cheaper than a mobile computer & can read wide range of barcode symbologies
Con: The most affordable varieties must connect to a computer with a cord
3) Smartphones & tablets
Modern mobile application development has enabled barcode scanning via Android and iOS devices. Since 64% of adults in the United States own a smartphone (Pew Research Center), today’s workforce is becoming increasingly mobile.
That means a significant portion of the typical workforce can utilize barcode scanning on their mobile device from anywhere. The best part? These applications are offered with no additional hardware cost.
Mobile barcode scanning app:
- View location-based database of parts
- Update part quantities dynamically
- Scan and recognize part UPC & QR codes
- Cost: Free for Fleetio users
Pro: Makes use of a wide range of already owned devices; fully mobile; no hardware cost
Con: Relies on subscription to software service