Small Business Trends Radio

Barcodes Are NOT Just For Manufacturing Companies

Managing, TechnologyMarch 24, 2009By

Grant Wickes: Barcodes Are NOT Just For Manufacturing Companies

You wouldn’t think that a barcode would have a place within a law office or a small business with only a few employees, but barcodes are not just for manufacturing companies anymore. Barcodes can drive out cost and save labor in all types of businesses ranging from law offices, to clinics, to security companies and even for companies with only a few employees.

Grant Wickes: Barcodes Are NOT Just For Manufacturing Companies

Grant Wickes, Vice President of Marketing, WASP Barcode Technologies, joins host Anita Campbell along with co-host, Brent Leary, to discuss automating your business and making it more profitable and scalable through the use of barcodes.

Because barcodes are NOT just for manufacturing companies anymore.

Below are the questions we asked Grant in this episode:

  • (3:55) For our listeners who may not know, can you briefly describe – what IS a barcode and how does that technology work?
  • (6:10) Most people associate barcodes with manufacturing and retail stores but these days, many other businesses are using them. Can you share a few of the types of businesses now using barcodes?
  • (8:50) Since most businesses are struggling financially right now, isn’t it counter-intuitive to spend money on new technology?
  • (10:40) What is your opinion about RFID technology when compared with barcodes, especially with regards to small business?
  • (12:04) How large should a business be before they consider implementing barcode-based solutions?
  • (16:57) Are you finding that many small businesses are still operating with “stone age” technology and that type of mindset? How easy is and affordable is it for them to get up and running with barcode technology?
  • (19:17) Are there other kinds of applications that may help small businesses be more efficient with barcodes?
  • (20:29) Does barcoding have any impact on sales and marketing?
  • (21:31) How easy is this technology for people to use and what kind of reporting and insight can they expect to get from barcodes?
  • (23:09) Basically you can combine the real-time information via mobile device and share the information to make quicker, more informed decisions?
  • (24:07) What are some of the reasons that you think have kept small businesses reluctant to use barcodes?
  • (25:19) Where do you think barcode technology will be in a year and what do you think it will enable small businesses to do?
  • (26:37) Grant, where can people find out more?

Listen to Grant’s full interview now by clicking the red and yellow player below.

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10 Responses to “Barcodes Are NOT Just For Manufacturing Companies”

  1. Arthur Bland Says:

    Of course, there are a lot more uses to this technology.

  2. Rose Anderson Says:

    This sounds interesting especially your points on how big the business should be before it will consider using this technology.

  3. Martin Lindeskog Says:

    It would be interesting to learn about the differences and similarities between barcodes, RFID, and mobile tagging.

  4. Luz Spielberg Says:

    Because barcodes are NOT just for manufacturing companies anymore. –>Yes. Exactly. This technology has involved to be very useful also to small businesses and to any businesses out there.

  5. Grant Wickes Says:

    Hi Rose: size of company is really difficult to quantify. If there is a consistent, its small businesses generally put off using technology for too long — when there is some significant benefits to be achieved

  6. Grant Wickes Says:

    Martin: always enjoy seeing your comments/questions…RFID / barcodes:
    Similarities:
    -both contain numbers/data
    – are used as the input data to a software system that keeps track of items
    – complementary technologies that have different use cases. (eg RFID is really good for larger operations that need to track high value assets)
    Differences:
    – barcodes need ‘line of site’ – ie a barcode scanner must be able to see the barcode without anything blocking the barcode label — RFID can be read by the reader even though something physically blocks the RFID label (there some exceptions like metal or liquid)
    – barcodes generally need the scanner to be within a foot or so of the barcode to read – RFID can be read from much longer distances (10+ feet for passive tags and hundreds of feet+ for active tags)
    Cost considerations:
    – barcodes are significantly simpler and right now cost much less to implement
    – RFID infrastructure costs more, but can be completely justified in use case where attributes of RFID are required

  7. Rose Anderson Says:

    Yes. You are right Grant!

  8. Martin Lindeskog Says:

    Grant: Thanks for your kind words and for the comparison between RFID and barcodes. Have you “bumped” into the mobile tagging technology yet? It looks like a barcode with dots in a square and you capture the image by taking a photo with your (mobile) camera.

    Have you heard about the Anoto’s digital pen and paper technology that transmits handwritten text into a digital format? I have recently purchased a Pulse Smartpen by Livescrive, and I am starting to see what you could do with this type of tool. For example, you could take handwritten notes during an inventory session of the stock and than quickly submit this data into the computer system at work.

  9. Grant Wickes Says:

    Hi Martin… It sounds like the mobile tagging you mention is what is generally called matrix or 2D barcode (and traditional barcodes are referred to as linear or 1D barcode).

    You’re right about how they are read. The scanner (or mobile camera if it has 2D barcode software) actually takes a picture of the image and like an OCR, intreprets all the dots to meaningful words and numbers.

    Right now, not much use of 2D barcodes in our small business targets… see it more in larger operations, government etc… but it’s coming. Right now most of our small business customer don’t even use any type of barcode!

  10. Francine Baker Says:

    After listening to this show on barcodes, our company decided to move forward. We’ve taken small steps with the poor economy but things are looking up.

    We bought Official UPC barcodes from easyupc and equipment from a local retailer. Keeping track of constant data has taken a load off of our small business.

    Thanks Grant!

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