In this final post (derived in part from a white paper from Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions that can be found here), we’ll provide a few key takeaways when considering barcode data collection in your own firm, and take a quick look at payback.
Common points to look for payback when implementing barcode technology include:
- Shipping & receiving
- Time entry
- Part or Item picking
- Inventory counting
- Production labor input tracking
Each company needs to look at the high cost of inaccurate data, and consider which areas are most ripe for improvement through process automation. Look for where data entry is required, determine the significance of that function, and then look for how automation will improve the accuracy or speed of that process.
What is the cost of the solution? Many out-of-the-box solutions to enable data collection are relatively inexpensive. Sometimes, as our example showed in our prior post, the entire system cost can be recouped in a single annual inventory replacement. Generally, you’ll find modest investment and rapid payback.
When evaluating payback, look at the obvious tradeoffs: system implementation costs versus the positive benefits of such things as:
- Reduced picking errors
- Reduced inventory levels
- Reduced carrying costs
- Reduced data entry errors
- Reduced inventory counts/expense
- Reduced shipping errors (when you ship the wrong item and fail to ship the right one!)
- Improved on-time delivery
- Reduced out-of-stock situations
… and the list goes on.
Given the benefits, most data collection systems can have a payback horizon as little as 6 months to a year. That doesn’t even include the intangible benefits of improved goodwill, customer retention, employee satisfaction and brand image.
In short, most firms that employ barcode technology intelligently – with a good plan and some forethought – find it both a short-term and a long-term money maker. Start with a conversation and some guidance from your technology or ERP provider. If they’ve done this for awhile, they will have no problem taking it from there.