In eCommerce order fulfillment, barcodes have become an essential tool. Modern shipping and logistics are incomplete without barcodes, and they are more prone to defaults if these black and white patterns are not embedded in their products. Most 3PL providers are dependent on barcodes to run the operations efficiently, because they help them perform their fulfillment services better.
Given that most of the shipping industry is working with barcodes in the present era, it is essential to understand what they are and how they’re being used. Through this post, let’s dive deeper into this and find out as much as we can.
What are shipping barcodes and why are they important for eCommerce order fulfillment?
Essentially, shipping barcodes are parallel patterns of different thicknesses, printed with random spacing onto products to later be read by a scanning machine. Barcodes are usually embedded in the shipping label of a shipment, or on the back of a product where it is picked up and scanned by a machine to get information.
These codes are used to keep the warehouse stock in check or to identify a particular order during shipping. Barcodes have access to details such as the category in which the product belongs, the address of delivery, details of the customer, mode of payment, and mode of shipment.
Quite often, barcodes are even printed on documents like purchase order documents or return order documents to provide assistance when retrieving information about internationally shipped orders.
Now that we know what shipping barcodes are, here’s how you can add them to your products.
How do you create shipping barcodes for your products?
Are you looking at adding shipping barcodes to your products? All you have to do is put in a request with your manufacturer or co-packer. If you’re a smaller merchant, then you could use websites available on the internet to create labels from pre-existing templates.
Additionally, before adding barcodes to your existing products, ensure to communicate with your logistics partner in case there are any non-barcoded products in the fulfillment center. This will help avoid confusions and allow inventory to be tracked accurately.
What are the benefits of using shipping barcodes for eCommerce fulfillment?
As mentioned above, barcodes are vital for improving and maximizing warehouse management. The barcode technology has proved to be beneficial for eCommerce fulfillment operations in the following ways:
1) Order processing is faster
Managing and shipping large volumes of orders can be quite tasking without barcode technology. In the absence of a method like this to track packages, keeping a trace on items and orders would be practically impossible. With barcodes, you can track shipments to the tiniest detail accurately.
2) Fewer errors
Manually entering inventory can cause multiple errors; however, with barcode technology integrated into your warehouse management software, you can reduce errors and increase data collection to a great degree. This will not only improve inventory management, but also increase the speed at which packages are received, shipped, and delivered.
3) Increased efficiency
With barcode technology, managers no longer need to stand at a fixed point to scan and record inventory. Wireless barcode scanners help reduce unnecessary movement from one place to another. Although small companies may not afford this advanced technology, it is beneficial for larger companies dealing with heavy order volumes regularly. Businesses that adopt barcode technology can benefit from fewer errors and fast order fulfillment time.
4) Better management
Fulfillment centers have truckloads of paperwork that may not be easy to keep track of manually. With barcode technology, data can be tracked in real-time allowing you to capture major functions and focus on other aspects of the business.
How can you ensure that your shipping barcodes are correctly scanned during the fulfillment process?
Barcodes are used by businesses while planning and arranging shipment of orders online or while preparing the inventory. Shipping barcodes are specifically used for advanced tracking of shipments and eCommerce fulfillment.
Listed below are specific instances where you can ensure shipping barcodes are scanned correctly during order fulfillment.
1) In fulfillment centers while receiving inventory
While receiving inventory in the warehouse, it is essential to check whether the right items have been received and where the products are coming from. To do this, barcodes are embedded onto the products or packages to ensure that all details are accurate and disclosed to the receiving party.
2) Sending out the shipment to courier companies
After the order is placed and the package is ready to be shipped, a barcode is printed and attached to the package by the retailer or the 3PL company that is handling the shipment. The barcode is then scanned by the courier/shipping company before leaving the fulfillment center to ensure there are proper records of the shipment being handed over.
3) When receiving a return from customers
There are several categories of a return, however, when a return is made involving a customer directly shipping the product back to the 3PL provider, then the barcode has to be thoroughly scanned before it can be accepted. This is done to ensure that the item returned is the same as the one that was delivered. After the product has been received and scanned, the refund is initiated accordingly.
Are there any other ways to improve the eCommerce fulfillment process using shipping barcodes?
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, there are a few more ways in which shipping barcodes can improve your eCommerce fulfillment process.
1) Shortened Training Time
Barcode technology is easy to understand and it takes only a few minutes to get a hang of as compared to complicated manual written procedures. Employees no longer need to spend hours mastering written procedures.
2) Increased Security
Scanning products allows you to track packages till the moment they are delivered to the customers. This not only increases order accuracy, but also increases customer satisfaction and eliminates errors.
3) Improved Management of Labor
With barcode technology, you can accurately capture employee performance. This provides an improved metric for measuring productivity and labor scheduling.
Barcode technology is essential for every business in today’s world, without which, businesses can’t hope to function effectively. Barcodes help streamline order fulfillment processes and take your business to the next level to provide room for growth and development.