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Warehouse Barcode Reading

The Significance of Barcode Reading in the Warehouse

Warehouse barcode reading is ubiquitous for identifying and tracking inventory across the supply chain.  As an integral part of modern warehousing, barcode reading delivers benefits from improved accuracy and efficiency to cost savings and enhanced traceability. Warehouses that use Vimaan image-based computer vison technology harness the full potential of barcode reading to streamline operations and stay competitive in an increasingly complex supply chain landscape.

How to improve warehouse barcode reading accuracy.

warehouse barcodes

Warehouse barcode reading involves the use of barcode technology to store information, manage inventory, track goods, and streamline operations in a warehouse. This technology includes barcode labels, Vimaan computer vision-enabled cameras, and warehouse management systems (WMS) that work together to provide accurate and efficient inventory control.  The two primary types of barcodes used in warehouses include:

  • 1D Linear Barcodes: The most universal types of barcodes, consisting of lines and spaces of varying widths. The most common 1D barcodes include UPC (Universal Product Code), Code 39 and EAN (European Article Number).
  • 2D Matrix Barcodes: These codes consist of tiny squares to encode data and are capable of storing over 7,000 characters, compared to the character limits of 1D barcodes. Common examples of these 2D codes Data Matrix, Aztec, QR, and PF  417. 

    Benefits warehouses achieve with Vimaan barcode reading include:
  • Accuracy: Minimize human errors in inventory tracking.
  • Throughput: Speed up the processes of receiving, picking, and shipping.
  • Real-Time Updates: Get immediate updates on inventory levels and locations.
  • Cost Savings: Reduce labor costs related to warehouse barcode reading and improve operational efficiency.
  • Versatility: Reads and interprets the widest range of barcode.

Barcode reading is an integral part of modern warehousing, offering a host of benefits from improved accuracy and efficiency to cost savings and enhanced traceability. A warehouse barcode reader, like Vimaan’s, is an input device that captures and reads the information contained in a barcode. While the goal is the same, the technology handheld barcode scanners use compared to Vimaan cameras could not be any different. 

Warehouse barcodes are made up of black and white lines (or boxes for 2D codes).  Binary digital signals stored in the barcode data are revealed when decoded. The most traditional type of barcode reader uses lasers to scan barcodes.  Lasers can be fast and effective given the right environment and code condition, but there are common warehouse situations that make it difficult for lasers to be effective:

Poorly printed barcode
  • Quiet Zone Violations surrounding the barcode
  • Poorly illuminated barcodes
  • Damaged and poorly printed barcodes
  • Extreme barcode angles and perspectives
  • Visual noise surrounding the barcodes

Lasers struggle with barcode reading when the print quality of the codes is subpar, damaged, unclear or have a low contrast.  But the biggest challenge laser barcode readers have is that that lasers cannot decipher 2D codes which are more prevalent in today’s warehouses.  This ends up disqualifying lasers from many warehouses’ barcode reading applications.

Alternatively, Vimaan cameras use image-based warehouse barcode reading technology that captures images of the 1D and 2D barcodes.  The rule of thumb with image-based barcode reading is that if a human can see the barcode, then Vimaan can decipher it.  Once captured, Vimaan computer vision algorithms decode the barcodes before distributing the information to the warehouse data pipeline. Learn more about how Vimaan compares with Handheld Barcode Readers.

scanning warehouse barcodes

Additional benefits to Vimaan warehouse barcode reading include the digital images captured with each scan.  During the scanning process, Vimaan takes thousands of high-resolution pictures of the targeted inventory.  In addition to photos of the barcodes, Vimaan captures the entire environment including cases, pallets and shelves.  Image stitching algorithms are then used to “stitch” the environment together into one seamless image that can be zoomed in and out of like a Google Street view of your warehouse.

Since warehouse management systems do not support digital photos, these images can be found in the Vimaan ViewDECK web application that is available from anywhere with an internet connection.  ViewDECK offers a whole new level of inventory visualization that compliments what warehouses already achieve with their WMS.  This level of photographic detail provides the warehouse with more context to the issues that may be detected.  For example, if a barcode is missing or cannot be read, photos of the cases, pallets or shelves are easily found in ViewDECK so warehouse managers can assess the alert from their computer and determine the appropriate action.

visual proof of warehouse barcode read on box

Warehouse barcode reading with Vimman includes acquiring and reporting on vast amounts of information quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively. They are the backbone of industrial connectivity for warehouses and distribution centers. By understanding how barcodes are used in various warehouse processes and staying abreast of future trends, warehouse managers can harness the full potential of this technology to streamline operations and stay competitive in an increasingly complex supply chain landscape.

Package and parcel tracking and inspection
From pallets to cases to parcels barcode reading is essential for warehouses

Warehouse Barcode reading with Vimaan computer vision enables real-time tracking of inventory levels, reducing the risk of stockouts and overstock situations. This includes reading barcodes on cases, parcels, and pallets.  Contact our Warehouse Barcode Reading Experts to learn how to improve your inventory management practices.

Q: Can Vimaan Integrate with my WMS or ERP?

A; Yes, Vimaan has integrated with all the major WMS systems in the market including Manhattan, SAP, Info, Blue Yonder, MS Dynamics and many home grown warehouse platforms as well.  If your system supports APIs, then integrating with Vimaan barcode reading solutions is easily achieved.

Q: Why would I replace my existing warehouse barcode reading processes?

A; Warehouses still utilizing labor to support routine barcode reading activities are carrying the burden of extra cost and are less profitable than others that have automated many of these jobs.  Warehouse recruiting and retention is also a major challenge, new employees should be relegated to higher quality tasks to improve attrition rates and ROI.

Q: What happens if my warehouse barcode cannot be read?

A: Vimaan alerts warehouse managers if it detects a barcode is missing or cannot be read.  Additionally, the digital archive of images displays the issue allowing the manager to determine next steps without having to set foot in the warehouse.

Q: Are warehouse drones or AMRs a more practical solution for cycle counting?
A: Cycle counting through cutting edge tools like warehouse drones or giant mobile robots sounds innovative and the future of the industry. But once you peel a single layer back you will find glaring challenges with these technologies.  The most obvious is ROI.  These warehouse barcode reading solutions take years to achieve a return on investment, compared to Vimaan when most warehouses measure their returns in months.  There are even more challenges including safety, battery life and service.

Contact the warehouse barcode reading experts at Vimaan to learn more.

Automated warehouse barcode reading with StorTRACK
Vimaan delivers automated barcode reading across the entire warehouse

Warehouse Barcode Reading Resources

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