Handheld Scanner and Barcode Tools Are Not the Next Great Thing

April 17th 2018 15:00:00 PM



Since Scanco is a company that sells handheld scanners and barcode tools, you may be surprised by the title of this post. After all, shouldn’t we be telling you that barcoding is the best thing ever and encouraging you to buy 1 million barcoding tools in the next 15 minutes, so we can throw in a free gift? (wink)

No. We. Shouldn’t. That’s not how we work at Scanco. The way we see it, you don’t want a pile of unusable scanners and we don’t want to pad our revenues with unhappy clients who aren’t seeing astronomical business value from their investments. Instead, we want to help you achieve your business goals using the tools that make sense for your needs.

If you’re curious whether a handheld scanner and barcode solution could help your company, contact Scanco online or at (330) 645-9959 to get the answers you need, along with a free, no-pressure consultation.

If you’re not yet ready to call, you may want to keep reading so you can find out what the next great thing is.

What Is a Handheld Scanner or Barcoding Tool?

Most companies are familiar with handheld ruggedized scanners—those multi-buttoned, ever-so-heavy, “portable” scanners of yesteryear that cost a bundle and took a while to power up. Though these tools had their flaws, they worked well and had proven results. Companies that used them definitely saw increases in productivity and accuracy company-wide, which saved them time and improved their revenues.

But, those things are old technology. They were built for the pace of work a few decades ago, and that was a much slower time.

Today’s modern warehouses can’t waste weeks training their seasonal influx of employees to use complex scanners, and they also can’t waste time waiting for their ruggedized scanners to sync back into their ERP system. Distributors that squander hours each day in today’s business landscape are almost guaranteed to fall behind their more deadline-driven competitors.

Today’s warehouses need real-time insight and simple, intuitive training options.

Of course, there are updated, faster handheld scanner and barcoding tools on the market that are intuitive and easy to use. Here at Scanco, we provide lightning-fast, cloud-based apps that run on iOS and Android smartphones and we offer a range of convenient scanner attachments. We’re also proud to say that our solutions take almost no training time because they just make sense.

However, handy smartphone-based handheld scanners are not the next great thing, even if they do have a really cool app.

The “Next Great Thing” for Warehouses

Read the news and it’ll be pretty clear what the newest, hottest warehouse efficiency item is in today’s market: IoT.

IoT, short for the “Internet of Things,” includes business and consumer devices that collect, transmit, and store data. These devices are meant to provide enhanced insight for their users, whether those users want to count their steps in a day or count their inventory items in a warehouse. Good handheld scanners and barcoding devices make inventory counting and tracking much easier—and leading solutions like Scanco can even collect and transmit data on the cloud in real time—but none of these are IoT devices.

IoT tools are unique in that they typically contain sensors and send data back and forth to online portals that humans or machines can access to analyze and optimize their overall operations. In addition, IoT devices usually stay in one location for life, such as in a piece of equipment or in the corner of a box.

Barcode scanners, on the other hand, are meant to be operated by humans, are meant to be portable and moved all over a warehouse and can provide data access and usage right where the device is at—instead of being only accessible from a centralized location somewhere else.

Clearly, both solutions will have their place in the warehouse of the future since they both perform critical warehouse management duties differently. However, there’s a reason that barcode scanners are not the “next great thing.”

It’s because they’re the proven standby thing that has worked to speed up warehouse operations for decades.

IoT vs. Handheld Scanners

Don’t get us wrong. We think IoT devices show great promise and are likely to entirely transform the supply chain and logistics industries. We adore technology, and we spend our free time discussing nerdy things like the tiny chipsets and chip-board systems that IoT devices use to run. We’re tremendously curious to see how IoT and automation will integrate with one another to create autonomous, “thinking” warehouses in the future.

But, the keyword there is the future. As of right now, an entirely digital setup run by autonomous IoT devices is years off for most warehouses. Unless you’re shipping volume like Amazon’s DCs, you’re probably not going to need (or afford) a fully automated, IoT-driven warehouse … yet.

Right now, your best choice probably lies in implementing a tool that’s so essential to accurate, fast, warehouse functionality that even the highest-tech Amazons of the world use it every single day.

Yup, that’s right, we’re talking about the humble barcode scanner.

And if you choose the right barcode scanner for your operations, you can increase productivity exponentially and be able to handle more items at less cost, with ever-shorter turnaround times.

The Real “Next Great Thing”

Perhaps it’s our nearly 30 years of experience spent working with warehouse managers and distribution companies, but we’re pretty darn sure that if your business can get more items out the door, faster and with lower costs, your company and revenues will inevitably grow. That growth may even increase your business size enough that IoT devices are well worth the cost in your warehouse—and, if that ends up being the case, I think we can safely say that your company itself is the next great thing!

So, no: handheld scanners and barcode tools are not the “next great thing.” They’re the proven great thing that successful companies have used for decades to drive growth and pull far ahead of their peers.

And at this point, barcode scanners are so easy to use and don’t require ridiculously complex and heavy hardware, so now might be the right time for your company to make the investment.

Contact Scanco online or at (330) 645-9959 to get information and advice about handheld scanner and barcoding tools for Sage 100/Sage 100.

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