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Product numbering and barcoding is a fact of life for every warehouse, no matter what products you deal in, but there’s a lot more that goes into it than you might expect.

If you’re new to the world of generating barcode numbers, or if you think there has to be a better way to get these numbers generated, you’re probably wondering where to start. We’ve got a few questions you should ask yourself before looking into barcode numbering, and how they can affect your products:


Are all of the products your products? One of the biggest factors that may come into play when numbering products is who exactly owns them and who you’re stocking them for. Do you act as an intermediary distribution center for other products and businesses, or do you purchase your products from a vendor and take them into your own inventory? Do you sell these items on someone else’s behalf, or are they your items to be sold and profited from? Knowing who owns your products and where your inventory has to go is going to have a big impact on the rest of your numbering and barcoding process.


Do you use customer numbers? In a similar vein, many warehouses that take in products from different vendors need to assign each one to a different customer number to keep everything straight. If your inventory or billing system already uses customer numbers, introduce them into your barcoding systems to keep everything better organized and consistent through each of your systems.


Do you use case/zone identifiers? Whether in individual storage bins or somewhere on your pallet racks, many warehouses use individual identifier tags to track zones and cases throughout the warehouse. If this is the case, you should consider introducing markers into your item barcodes to better indicate where these zones are and where they should go.


What accounting types do you use? Many warehouses need their barcodes to track more than just item location—quantity, sell-through rate, and value are all part of tracking items and need to be included in your data as well. Make sure your barcodes are easily readable by any of your accounting software to make sure everything is legible and compatible with one another.


What are you doing with the items? Finally, the biggest overarching question is just where everything is supposed to go. Are they all smaller parts being used to manufacture a larger item? Do they all have different destinations and end goals, or do you ship them to one common destination? Not only will these questions impact your barcode procedure, it will also affect how your warehouse functions and operates overall.


With each of these in mind, your barcode system can meet the needs of any product tracking or scheduling need you might have.

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