A barcode reader (barcode scanner), also called a price scanner or point-of-sale (POS) scanner, is a hand-held or stationary input device used to capture and read information contained in a bar code. A barcode reader consists of a scanner, a decoder (either built-in or external), and a cable used to connect the reader with a computer.
There are five basic kinds of barcode readers each with its own unique advantage. Those are Pen wands, Slot Scanners, Charge-Couple Device (CCD) Scanners, Image Scanners, and Laser Scanners.
· A Pen Wand is a simple barcode reader which is known for its durability and low cost; does not contain any moving parts. It has to remain in direct contact with the bar code at a certain angle.
· A Slot Scanner remains stationary and the item with the bar code on it is pulled by hand through the slot. Slot scanners are typically used to scan bar codes on identification cards.
· A CCD Scanner often used in retail sales has a better read-range than the pen wand. A disadvantage of the CCD scanner is that it cannot read a bar code that is wider than its input face.
· An Image Scanner, also called as Camera reader, uses a small video camera to capture the image of the bar code and then uses sophisticated digital image processing techniques to decode the bar code.
· A Laser Scanner, either hand-held or stationary, does not have to be close to the bar code in order to do its job and can easily read a bar code up to 24 inches away. A laser scanning may perform up to 500 scans per second to reduce the possibility of errors.
Advantages of Barcodes: –
Barcode scanning systems provide an array of benefits, including operational efficiency, better customer service, and improved visibility of key business information to management.
A bar code label of twelve characters can be wanded in approximately the time it takes a keyboard operator to make two keystrokes.
For every 1,000 characters typed by a keyboard operator, there are an average of ten keying errors. For an Optical Character Reader (OCR), there is one error in every 10,000 reads. With wands, barcode systems approach one error in every 3,000,000 characters, and with laser technology, they approach one error in 70 million entries.
When all the products or item data is Barcode scanned, it is free of human errors when data is entered. Barcode scanners works as a designed user interface that prevent the input of invalid data.
Probable number of substitution errors per 3,400,000 characters
Data Entry Meth — Errors
Keyboard Entry — 10,000
OCR Scanning — 300
Barcode scanning(Code 39) — 1
Ease of Implementation:
Operators of bar code scanners can learn to use the equipment effectively in less than 15 minutes. System costs are lower than other means of data entry because of the existence of interfacing hardware and software.
Barcode systems have a demonstrated payback period of six to eighteen months, and they provide the highest level of reliability in a wide variety of data collection applications. Barcode systems create value not only by saving time, but also by preventing costly errors.
Information is the most valuable asset for any organization. Every organization should protect its operations data with reliable data management by ensuring data accuracy and availability. Barcode Scanners equipment helps firms in maintaining accurate supply chain and operations data management.