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  • Jon Brown FCCA

Why you should be using bar codes in your business – Part 2

In our previous blog, we looked at how bar coding improves your company's cash flow and profitability. Today we look at the mystery of ......

What is a bar code?

A bar code is simply a number (or a mixture of letters and numbers). When this number is printed out, it is printed using a specialist bar code font instead of say Arial or Times New Roman.

In the same way that our brains can decipher characters and numbers in an Arial font, a bar code scanner can decipher a bar code font. It turns it back into characters and numbers which your computer system reads.

Some bar codes also contain information about the product – so prepackaged meat may have the product code, weight, price and even information such as expiry date. However, for most retailers and wholesalers, it is simply one stock item, one bar code.

You can see a sample of translating characters in to bar code by following this link.

How do I print my own bar codes?

Sometimes you need to print bar codes. This may be to stick on the product (if the manufacturer has not already included them) or for a shelf with a price for display.

You simply need to have a bar code font on your computer e.g. Free 3 of 9, and preferably a report that you can run from your software.

You either print out your own stock code or the manufacturers code as a bar code. As long as your computer system can turn that bar code in to a stock code, that is all you need.

If you are a manufacturer and you want to get your bar codes registered, try starting at something like this.

Next time we'll look at some of the steps involved in implementing bar codes in your business.

If you'd like to know more about how bar codes can help your business, or how to better handle your stock, please contact us using the details at the bottom of the page.

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