Barcodes and Your Fixed Assets
Every time we purchase something, we interact with a barcode, but rarely do we give them much notice. Yet barcodes play a crucial role in the effective and efficient operation of our economy, from small businesses to large multinational conglomerates.
What is a Barcode?
A barcode is a machine-readable code composed of numbers and a pattern of parallel lines of varying widths used to identify a product. Barcode systems track products, prices, and stock levels for an integrated management software allowing productivity and efficiency to increase.
The lines and patterns on a barcode are actual representations of numbers and data. It allows basic information about an asset to be easily read by a barcode scanner and automatically recorded into a system. Barcodes vastly reduce the time it takes to record such information and eliminates the potential for human error.
Barcodes started out with simple 1-dimensional designs, consisting of basic black lines that specially designed barcode scanners could only read. However, today barcodes come in many shapes and sizes and a wide range of designs. Now they can even be scanned by mobile devices.
1D vs. 2D Barcodes
There are two types of barcodes: linear – or 1D and 2D. The most visually recognizable, the UPC (Universal Product Code), is a linear 1D barcode made up of two parts: the barcode and the 12-digit UPC number. The first six numbers of the barcode are the manufacturer’s identification numbers. The following five digits represent the item’s number. And the last number is called a check digit which enables the scanner to determine if you scanned the barcode correctly.
A linear barcode typically holds any type of text information. In contrast, a 2D barcode is more complex and can include more information in the code: price, quantity, web address, or image. A linear barcode scanner cannot read a 2D barcode, requiring the use of an image scanner for reading the information embedded in a 2D barcode. Mobile phones with cameras, like iPhones and Android phones, and many other devices can read 2D barcodes through their integrated cameras.
The development of the 2D barcode greatly expanded the application of barcodes. Now that they can contain more information and are easily readable by consumers (via their mobile phones), the 2D barcode can do much more than keep track of assets and inventory.
Today, 2D codes, especially QR codes, can hold as many as 7,000 digits or 4,000 characters of text. Companies use these 2D codes to share information or websites and videos with consumers, or by healthcare facilities to monitor medication, and even to integrate data with programs like MS Office, MS SQL Servers, and other databases and files. Try a free QR code generator to create a QR code for your business.
Advantages of Asset Panda's Barcode Tracking System
A big part of what makes Asset Panda such a robust fixed asset tracking software is the ability to scan barcodes using mobile devices. Customers are not required to purchase extra equipment or expensive hardware to track their fixed assets using barcodes. Another great advantage of choosing Asset Panda’s fixed asset tracking software is that customers use the mobile devices they already carry. Offering free and unlimited downloads of mobile apps, Asset Panda comes ahead of the competition in pricing and convenience.
To learn how to generate barcodes through your Asset Panda account, check out "How to Generate Barcodes" user guide.
If you want to learn more about our asset management barcode system, get your free trial today!