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Barcodes still drive data

Since its inception, barcode printing has evolved and grown into a global necessity, improving data management and accessibility, says MATTHEW HALL, product manager at Rectron



Advancements in technology have seen the evolution of barcode printing, from what used to be a basic identification tool has now transgressed into cutting-edge tool that significantly improves data management and accessibility. 

Companies are accumulating data at rapid speeds, yet too often, the potential of this data lies dormant. In fact, the IDC predicts that the total volume of data produced will increase to 163 zettabytes by 2025. 

To thrive in the digital economy, companies need to learn to use data effectively, deriving meaningful insights to make better business decisions to increase efficiencies, productivity, and profitability. 

Easy to implement, barcoding enables organisations in virtually any industry to improve data accuracy by simply labelling assets and inventory while automating data collection, removing room for error.

Seen as a tool for innovation development, barcode technology identifies patterns in information. So, what may seem like a simple tracking tool at first, is a powerful mechanism that will bring about significant gains, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who are faced with tight budgets.

Data management 

Barcode devices bring consistency to organisations, enabling predictable operations for enhanced product quality by combining various data management functions while preventing bottlenecks at data entry stations. 

By having the right barcode printing and labelling system in place, one that is proven and reliable enables a single source of truth data management. It also provides companies with relevant, accurate, and insightful information so leadership can make timely, informed decisions that control costs and ensure performance.

For example, after rolling out 635 devices across 20 facilities in two months, Zebra Technologies helped Whirlpool move from managing devices with spreadsheets to managing and analysing device utilisation, location, and performance from one location and dashboard. Today, Whirlpool can ensure that each distribution centre has a proper mix of equipment based on usage statistics. 

Data Accessibility

It is no good having valuable data stored yet no means to access it. Organisations need to be able to access information in real-time, whenever and from wherever.  

In fact, according to the  IDC, by 2025, more than a quarter of data created in the global datasphere will be in real-time in nature.

Increasing visibility and accessibility to organisations, barcode printing allows companies to conduct multiple functions, from scanning a code to see how many items were sold, to tracking items back to the supplier and to delivery. 

For example, when a customer orders the wrong size pair of shoes, a company needs to be able to do reverse logistics. Barcoding is about creating visibility that allows companies to track every minor detail in real-time, from the time the product was manufactured right to its endpoint, allowing for full cradle to grave traceability. 


Increasing productivity by freeing up a workforce’s time, as manual processes become automated, speeds up operations, as a 12-character barcode label can be completed in the same time it takes a keyboard operator to make two keystrokes. 

For example, Bradford Airport Logistics managed to reduce scanning time by eight minutes per 40 boxes using Zebra Technologies devices, thus exceeding deployment expectations by seven weeks. The company increased productivity with more deliveries per week, allowing teams to expand scope with the added benefit of improved customer satisfaction for airport vendors. 


For every 1 000 characters typed by a keyboard operator, there is an average of 10 errors, according to Barcoding research

By eliminating the likelihood of human error, barcodes efficiently, and accurately enter and capture data while automating processes. 

Plus, barcoding is used to identify and track items accurately. For instance, a grocery store can see when perishables were shipped, produced, and became ripe, while accurately predicting the expiration date and shelf-life.


Companies are starting to realise that the efficiency and success of their organisation heavily relies on their IT infrastructure. As a result, many are investing in hardened enterprise devices that bring about significant cost-savings. 

The cost of having to replace a device every year quickly adds up. Today, replacing an iPhone screen costs almost the same as purchasing a new one, whereas a rugged device means companies forgo such issues. 

At the end of the day, it is not about how much a company is spending and saving, instead, how much they going to save five years from now and what they are doing in five years’ time to ensure they are still in business with low overheads and systems that have lasted over those years.  


A device can either simplify the supply chain or create complexities and costs. By investing in reliable devices, companies are ultimately investing in their future, ensuring longevity and long-term success. 

Founded in 1969, with a rich history in solutions, Zebra manufacturers a wide variety of printing technologies, providing companies in almost every vertical market with a number= of ways to manage and access their data.

Available through Rectron, Zebra’s devices can be customised depending on a company’s requirements and the environments they exist in.