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Barcode Generator Software

Barcode Generator software provides companies with barcode and inventory solutions. Barcode and label software allows companies to create, index, and print barcodes for various industries such as supply chain management, retail, shipping, and compliance labelling. Barcode Generator software is related to Inventory Control software, Inventory Management software, Mobile software, Warehouse Management software, and Shipping software. Find the best barcode software for your organisation in Australia.

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Barcode Generator Software Buyers Guide

Barcode generator software, as the name suggests, generates barcodes that make it easier to index and track real-world assets in a digital system. Using a series of lines of different thicknesses, a barcode can represent a unique identification that can, in turn, be linked to a record containing all the information an organisation is likely to need to store about a particular asset. This is especially useful for checking things in and out of locations, or identifying which asset is being handled when the company has several of the same assets. Of course, one of the most commonly known uses for barcodes is to quickly record sales of products and retrieve the price of said product.

The only real core feature of a barcode generator solution is the ability to generate barcodes, though there is a range of ancillary features that are typically found in this type of software. For example, many barcode generator solutions will also provide the ability to create and store label templates. Barcodes themselves are nonsensical to human eyes, so companies sometimes find it necessary to add other information to the label on which the barcode will be printed. Barcodes can also be exported to a range of common image formats, allowing for use in things like promotional campaigns and internal literature.

The primary benefit of barcode generation is the ability to reliably store an identification number in a format that can be instantly scanned by a barcode scanner. The nature of barcode design makes the resulting barcode durable in the sense that a large portion of it can be obscured or damaged without preventing the barcode reader from successfully interpreting the image. These barcodes can then be scanned quickly for a variety of automated tasks, such as registering the sale of a product or logging a piece of equipment being taken out.

As with most business software solutions these days, barcode generators work closely with other categories of software, including inventory control software, and other software solutions related to the storing and handling of products, supplies, and equipment. This type of software can be found in both Software as a Service (SaaS) and locally installed software solutions, though the locally installed software package tends to be far more limited in capability, while the cloud-native solutions tend to form part of a wider suite of features.

There are many things for a business to consider when going through the decision-making process of purchasing a barcode generator solution, including how well that software will work with existing systems or, in the case of larger suites, whether the software could be used to replace existing systems. The feature set of barcode solutions can be quite varied, but most solutions in this software category will include some or all of the following features:

  • Barcode generation is, of course, a core feature and allows a user to generate a barcode that represents a unique identification in the company's system
  • Label templates that allow the designing and saving of complete templates that can display other information besides the barcode itself, and can be re-used
  • Barcode scanning is often included in this category of software, particularly when the database being referenced is also created and maintained within the software as well
  • Serial exporting allows for the creation and export of several barcodes in a batch process, only requiring minimal effort compared to doing each barcode one by one

What is barcode generator software?

Barcode generator software is designed to create barcode images that can be used to easily identify a piece of equipment, product, ID badge, or anything else that a company might want to be able to quickly identify. Barcodes are essentially robust ways of representing a string of numbers and letters that, in turn, serve as a unique identifier. Barcodes can be scanned instantly using a barcode scanner, with the result being cross-referenced against the company's database and the necessary information returned. The result is that someone can, in a matter of seconds, pull up a wealth of information about the object they have just scanned.

Likely the most well-known use of barcodes in a business setting is that of produce in a physical shop. Every item will be assigned a barcode, and when a customer brings it to the counter, the person behind the till can simply scan the item's barcode to pull up all the information they need, such as price. Additionally, that information can be used to automatically update inventory and any other relevant systems.

They are also convenient in the sense that a barcode does not need special equipment, but a regular printer or label marker to create one. They can be included in promotional material or company literature. These are all reasons why barcodes have remained so popular despite the continual advance of technologies in the business space.

What are the benefits of barcode generator software?

The benefits of barcode generator software are primarily focused on making it easy and efficient to identify barcoded items, as well as automate certain tasks that are associated with those items. Those associated tasks will largely depend on the industry they take place in since barcodes are such a useful tool that can be incredibly effective in a number of settings. Some of the more specific benefits that are associated with barcode generator software solutions include:

  • Easily and quickly create custom labels: while the barcodes that are generated and subsequently scanned are little more than a meaningless pattern of lines to the human eye, the overall label the barcode is printed on doesn't have to be. Barcode generator solutions can be connected to the databases; they are references and can pull as much information as the user requires when creating a new barcode label. This means the labels can be as useful to the human eye as they are to a barcode scanner. Templates can be set up so that a new label will automatically populate things like price, name, and dimensions fields with the relevant information.
  • Eliminate the errors that arise from manual data entry: human error is, unfortunately, a significant factor when businesses begin to scale up, and barcodes allow businesses to eliminate the risk of human error. The most obvious example of this is a retail outlet using barcodes to scan items at the till, rather than relying on staff to accurately enter the price or select the right items from the database. Given the sheer number of transactions the employee would be manually entering throughout the day, it is unlikely there would be no errors. A scanned barcode will always return the correct information as long as the connected database is accurate.
  • Improve the efficiency of an operation: in addition to eliminating a lot of opportunities for errors, barcodes also make an operation run more efficiently. Sticking with the above example of a retail outlet, scanning barcodes isn't just more accurate; it can also be much faster than entering information manually. This means that an employee working on a till with a barcode scanner will be able to serve more customers in a given period than an employee who is entering the information manually.
  • Use barcodes for a variety of purposes: the example of an employee working on a till in a retail unit may have been used more than once, but one of the advantages of using barcodes is that they are very versatile. They can be used to scan products when totalling up purchases, to register equipment when it is being signed in and out, and even for personnel security, such as barcodes on ID badges that can then be scanned.
  • Track a wider range of stock and other items: along with the increased efficiency and reduced errors that scanning barcodes over manual data entry bring, there is also the potential for growth that these aspects bring to a business. Being able to more efficiently and accurately handle products and other items allows a company to deal with larger quantities of those items, which in turn increases the potential capacity of the company.

What are the features of barcode generator software?

The features of barcode generator software are focused on making it as easy as possible to identify something based on the barcode that it has been assigned to. Much of this lies in the reliable and long-tested technologies involved in physically scanning a barcode, but it also involves the creation of human-readable labels that contain enough information without the need for a barcode scanner. Here are some of the most common features of barcode generator software:

  • Barcode generation: as would be expected from barcode generator software, the core feature offered is the ability to generate barcodes. This process is often very simple and fast, requiring little training on the part of employees to use the software. Indeed, in some cases, generating a new barcode can be as simple as clicking a single button. The barcodes themselves do not typically vary much in appearance, meaning there are no settings or parameters that need to be changed at this stage of the process.
  • Label template creation: beyond the barcode itself, label templates are incredibly useful for companies that will be generating a lot of barcodes. These templates can be created once and used many times, with the necessary information automatically populated into the associated fields. This feature can be used to make price labels for products that include the barcode, product name, and price, or it could be used to create an identification badge that includes the barcode, name, and job title of the wearer.
  • Robust export features: label creation may be very useful, but there are plenty of situations where the users may need to incorporate a barcode into something that cannot be created in the barcode generator software. For example, when a barcode needs to be included in some promotional materials, or when a barcode needs to be exported and attached in emails to a customer or employee. Barcode generator solutions will usually include export functionality that offers a number of options for how that export will take place, including popular image formats and PDF files. Some solutions also support exporting in a vector graphic format. This is a format that stores an image as a mathematical representation, meaning it can be enlarged without losing any of the quality of the image.
  • Barcode scanning: barcode generation is, of course, useless without the ability to scan those barcodes. Barcode generation software will typically be linked to a database in order to pull the information it needs to create labels, and that same link can be used to retrieve the relevant information when scanning a barcode. This is necessary for situations like ringing items up on a till; the price of the item will need to be retrieved from the database.
  • Batch barcode creation and export: companies with a lot of barcodes to create—particularly if that company is moving to a barcode system for the first time—can benefit from a barcode generation solution that offers batch creation. This allows the creation of a large number of new barcodes that can be quickly exported for whatever use needed. Of course, details like names or prices would still need to be manually entered (unless they are all the same), but certain information can be generated alongside the barcode. This includes sequential numbering, such as ID numbers, and any information that is the same for every barcode.
  • Custom barcode: barcodes can be generated in a sequential manner, with each barcode being an incrementally higher number than the last, but they can also be created with a custom identifier if preferred. This may be the case if a company is adopting barcodes but wants to use existing identification numbers so that the existing database can be maintained. Integration with inventory management: one of the most common uses for barcode scanning is the tracking of inventory, such as in the above example of a retail unit. For this reason, many barcode generator software solutions will offer integration with inventory management solutions—or ways to allow the two solutions to work together. This can help automate certain tasks, such as automatically adjusting stock levels when a product is sold.

What should be considered when purchasing barcode generator software?

When purchasing barcode generator software, it is important to consider what level of integration the organisation needs from its barcode generator software.

A company that just needs to be able to create new barcodes for occasional use will likely need little more than a standalone barcode generation solution, whereas a large company with complete inventory management will want a solution that can integrate with their existing systems. This becomes a more significant distinction when considering standalone applications versus Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, and software as a service barcode generator software will typically be part of a larger suite of tools.

Below, some of the more specific considerations to think through when buying barcode generation software are outlined in a little more detail:

  • What are the key features of the solution? It is important to think carefully about the features that are included in a potential software solution, particularly when planning to use that solution as integration with other software packages. Making changes to other software systems based on a barcode generator solution that ultimately doesn't work out can be a significantly costly waste of time. Ensuring that the feature set of the potential solution can apply to your intended task will help to avoid such a waste of time.
  • What costs are involved in purchasing or using the solution? Barcode generator software solutions can be relatively simple affairs compared to some related software categories, such as inventory management. Indeed, it is possible to find free—albeit very limited—barcode generator solutions. Barcode generator software intended for commercial use tends to boast many features to make working with other systems easier, but these features come at a cost. Barcode generation is also a feature that certain other software solutions may include, so it's worth looking at the overall needs of the business before purchasing individual software solutions, as there may be one single solution that meets all of those needs and is more cost-effective.
  • Will the solution integrate with existing software? If the company ultimately decides to purchase a standalone barcode generator solution, it should make sure that the chosen solution will integrate—or at least work with—any relevant existing systems that the company is running. Examples of these systems include inventory management for stock barcodes and personnel management for identification badges. Since the point of using barcodes is to make various processes faster and more efficient, failing to check whether the software would work well with the existing systems can completely negate the purpose.
  • Does the software support other similar technologies? While barcodes are still very popular—and for good reason—technology is constantly moving, with QR codes and RFID tags starting to take the place of barcodes in certain situations. It may be worth considering an option that supports the generation of these alternatives, especially for a company that intends to stay up to date with new technologies.
  • Does the software support serial number tracking? If the company will be using the generated barcodes for creating unique identification of products—often called serial numbers—for various aftercare reasons such as warranty validation, choosing a software solution that supports serial number tracking should be a priority.

The most relevant barcode generator software trends revolve around the adoption of newer technologies that work in the same space as barcodes, such as QR codes and RFID tags. While barcodes are an incredibly reliable technology, they do require the use of dedicated hardware (barcode scanners), which not everybody has. The shift towards technology that most everyday consumers can take advantage of has obvious benefits. The most relevant trends in this category of software are outlined in more detail below:

  • QR codes: QR codes are very similar to barcodes, but they can store more information than a typical barcode and can be scanned by a device with a camera, such as a mobile phone. QR codes are increasingly being used for promotional purposes, such as encoding website addresses that a user can simply point their phone at and have the address pop up on their screen. Given the similarities between QR codes and barcodes, it's not surprising that many barcode generator solutions already offer QR code generation as well. This trend is likely to continue.
  • RFID tags: RFID is another alternative to barcodes. Like QR codes, RFID tags can store more information than barcodes. Unlike QR codes, RFID requires a small piece of technology to be installed on the object being coded. The trade-off for this inconvenience is that RFID tags can be scanned from nearby but not necessarity in a direct line of sight, as barcodes do. Additionally, many mobile phones include RFID scanning capabilities. The ability to code RFID tags is already featured in some barcode generator solutions, and, like QR codes, that trend is likely to continue.
  • Deeper levels of integration: Standalone barcode generation software is likely to look towards offering higher levels of integration with other software solutions, with the possibility to automate more tasks based on barcode scanning.