What's a Bar Code?
Automatic identification or "Auto ID", encompasses the automatic recognition, decoding, processing, transmission and recording of data, most commonly through the printing and reading of information encoded in bar codes. Bar codes allow for rapid, simple and accurate reading and transmission of data for items that need to be tracked or managed. Bar codes can be printed directly on mailing tubes, envelopes, boxes, cans, bottles, packages, books, files and other paperwork, furniture, cards and many other items for identification.
The emergence of Auto ID systems, including bar codes and the related printers, scanners, decoders and software, has significantly increased the speed, efficiency and accuracy of data collection and entry. Early applications of bar code scanning, which included retail point-of-sale, item tracking and inventory control, have been expanded to include more advanced applications such as time and attendance, work-in-process, quality control, sorting, order entry, document tracking, shipping and receiving and controlling access to secure areas.
These expanded systems have measurably increased productivity by linking production, warehousing, distribution, sales and service to management information systems on a batch or real-time basis. Consequently, opportunities to improve operational efficiencies and customer responsiveness have developed for retailers, transportation and package delivery companies, manufacturers, wholesale distributors and service providers.
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