Bar Codes. They’re cool, they’re fun and they are essential for a growing business. But setting up a bar code system is not as easy as you might think ( and maybe not as difficult as you might think! ). As far as FileMaker is concerned, then it is relatively simple to configure. However the system itself is quite difficult to run successfully and should be built uniquely for the company. A lot of time and preparation should go into your system before you begin to build it. So, where do you begin?
Where to start?
First you need to ask yourself what you need this system to achieve? Is it a stock system, a production management system, inventory database or all of them combined? Planning for this will not change how you scan your codes but it may change how you configure your FileMaker solution.
So I will explain how I started my bar code system.
The company I work for, we can call it Sam’s Company for this example, perform a process on items that they purchase from overseas. The processes that occur could be singular or there could be many. Once all of the processes are complete the items are then sold to companies all over the world ( we call these the end customers ).
Sam’s Company needed a way of tracking each item through its processes until the item is complete. The information recorded by the bar codes will consist of quality information, customer information and scheduling information. We decided that bar codes would be the best solution for this project.
When an item is purchased from overseas a record will be created. From this record the user will be able to print an identification sticker. This sticker will contain the end customer’s name, product dimension, a scheduled completion date and most importantly the bar code. The sticker will be attached to the purchase item and will stay on the item throughout it’s time at Sam’s Company. After every process the item will be scanned and quality information will be recorded.
The bar code will be created using the records primary key. This way when a bar code is scanned it will point to one and only one record. From this record users will be able to view and edit quality information, customer details and more.
This will give Sam’s Company the ability to see exactly where every item is at any given moment. In turn this will also give Sam’s Company a better customer service, better production planning and a more knowledgeable computer system.
So if you are configuring your own bar code system, try to go through the same process I have. Identify the problem and thoroughly plan the solution having identified every step.