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Patience and Precision: Top Tips for Using a Laser Barcode Scanner

Laser barcode scanners can be tricky to learn how to use properly. At the same time, your job depends on it. Here are a few tips to make it easier on yourself.

  1. Make Sure The Barcode Scanner Is Hooked Up Properly Before You Start

Before you begin, make sure your barcode scanner is hooked up properly. You should be able to turn it on and off without too much trouble. It should be oriented properly, and you shouldn’t have to overreach for it. Finally, make sure that you have a training manual nearby just in case. Also, make sure your asset tracking system is working properly. If you’re using this asset tracking software, make sure that the program is up and running, that you aren’t getting any error messages, and run a test scan to make sure it’s taking in the data properly. Once you’ve done a test run, you’re good to go, right? Not so fast.

  1. Find The Barcode On The Item You Want To Scan

Find the label you want to scan. If you’ll be scanning the same or similar items, establish a workflow. Where are the labels located on the items? Do you have to reorient them constantly or can you arrange them so that quick and efficient scans are possible? Barcodes generally come in one of two flavors: linear codes and 2D codes. A linear code has a bunch of vertical lines stacked together with a series of numbers underneath. You’re probably familiar with this type of code. It’s been used for ages. Embedded in these codes is simple information about an item. 2D codes contain more complex information which can include images, website addresses and dynamic contact information. These kinds of codes are used on business cards and items which may require complex information to be associated with them. They can also be used to enhance information about a product. For example, they can be used by companies to create “augmented reality” displays – customers scan codes on items and the item appears on their tablet or smartphone with an enhanced description.

  1. Make Sure The Scanner Is In The Right Position

Once you’ve figured out how items will be scanned, make sure your scanner is in a sustainable position. In other words, can you work all day like this? If not, move the scanner or yourself so that you can.

  1. Engage The Scanner

Some scanners will automatically scan the item in question. Others need to be engaged before they will scan.

  1. Check The Scanned Item

The scanned item should appear on your screen in your asset tracking software. If it doesn’t, then you made a mistake or the scanner isn’t working properly. Alternatively, your scanning software isn’t working properly. Always verify a scan visually before moving onto the next item. This will prevent you from, say, scanning in 100 items only to find out that 25 went through and you’ve no idea which 25 they were.

Greg Williams is a warehouse inventory worker. He loves writing about his experiences online. Look for his posts on many industrial and business blogs.

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