Barcode Scanning at Design Ready Controls
Barcode Scanning: Where and Why
At Design Ready Controls we use barcode scanning throughout our operations—in our warehouse, in shipping and receiving and at all workstations—to increase efficiency and reduce human error.
For example, we use barcode scanning to record work time. “Clocking in” can take anywhere from 10 to 40 seconds, and we had more than 300,000 clock-ins in one year at our Brooklyn Park location alone. Barcode scanners allow employees to clock in and out more quickly and easily. Creating a way for employees to scan jobs and start working creates efficiencies and process improvements, ensuring that all employees are using the correct documentation in a timely manner.
Other ways we use barcode scanning are:
- Part kitting—ensuring that all necessary and required parts are kitted for each panel/job
- Shipping—organizing the shipment of control panels being sent to customers
Thing to Consider
Barcode scanning is relatively inexpensive and easily accessible, and presents endless opportunities for use. But buying a scan gun was somewhat of a project itself. You can get a $12 scanner from Amazon, but it might not have the quality and features you need. To choose a scan gun, consider how you will be using it, your budget, and its overall application.
When we started having employees scan job travelers to clock in to a job, they were in plastic folders that caused glare. The first scanners we bought, the red laser type you see at grocery stores, did not work. We had to discover what specifically was needed and go back to the scan gun research stage. I strongly suggest buying different scan guns and trying them out. There are various levels of equipment and capabilities; completing a test run is a great way to see what you need. In the end, we determined we needed something economical, but also had 2D barcode capability.
Most ERP systems have the functionality to scan barcodes. If yours does, implementation should be easy and straightforward. We use M1, which has the necessary software built in. However, we had specific needs that required changes by our IS and Software team to customize it. You can make the barcode scanning capabilities applicable to almost anything that has a barcode on it.
Projects in the Works
Barcode scanning is a simple and inexpensive technology we can use to simplify and streamline many manufacturing processes. We are currently launching a project to use scan guns for part location. The idea is to scan the barcodes on individual parts, assemble the parts needed for a particular job, and run a confirmation scan: “Those 10 parts are in the right location.” The scope of this project is large, but we believe the effort we make now will bring significant benefits in the future.