Developing a Bar Code System
If you wish to create simple single-user systems, all you need is a wedge reader to connect to your PC. If you wish to print on-demand bar codes, you will also need bar code printing software. There are many good products on the market today.
Since a wedge reader simulates keyboard input (it connects between the CPU and keyboard), you simply plug it in and scan the bar code. You can improve the reliability of your scans when printing on-demand bar codes by encoding a special character into the bar codes. For example, you could put an "E" at the beginning of employee badge numbers, and a "D" before a department number. Then you can check for this when a field is read to be sure that the user is not scanning the wrong type of bar code.
Multi-User Terminal-Only Systems
While these are still being sold, most companies have discontinued them. There is a chance, however, that you already have one of these in place. If that is the case at this point you need decide if you want to replace what you have with PCs or just add to your existing system. It is very easy to add to an existing system, as it is still possible to buy extra terminals and add bar code equipment to the ones you have.
If you want to build a network system, simply attach a wedge reader to each workstation and write a standard network application. Our IntelliTrack products are available in network or single-user versions.
Be sure to look at your company's future as well as its current needs. You should plan on expanding virtually every system you install, because you will definitely see a benefit. Don't install a system that you will not be able to expand in the future. In particular, keep these factors in mind:
Extra Terminals or Stations: In about 90 percent of installations, one or two additional workstations are added within the first month of installation. Try to make it a normal practice to bid the original system with some allowances for expansion. Add a few extra megabytes of RAM to the system and a larger hard drive than you think you need.