7 Barcoding Best Practices for Manufacturers: Streamlining Material Management with RF Plus™

Manufacturing companies often face challenges when their inventory management needs outgrow the capabilities of their existing ERP systems. As they transition from made-to-order to made-to-stock production, effective inventory tracking becomes essential to avoid production delays, inventory write-offs, and customer penalties. To address this issue, we introduce RF Plus™, a comprehensive solution that revolutionizes materials management. In this article, we will delve deeper into the seven best practices that RF Plus™ brings to enhance your manufacturing processes.

  1. Data Capture and Beyond:

    Barcodes continue to be the fastest, most accurate, and cost-effective means of data entry. Common 1D symbologies like Code 39 or UPC are ideal for part numbers and lot codes, while 2D barcodes can encode more extensive information, such as the complete bill of materials and work order number. Taking data capture to the next level, RF Plus™ now includes the ability to capture images and videos associated with inbound receipts and shipments. These visual aids can be invaluable for documentation, evidence, or facilitating efficient service support.

  2. Real-Time Transaction Processing:

    The timing of data processing in a manufacturing facility can significantly impact decision-making and operations. RF Plus™ ensures real-time transaction processing for critical data, such as raw material arrivals, usage, and finished goods shipping. With real-time data at your disposal, your warehouse team can avoid wasting time searching for products, minimize excess stock, and prevent unexpected stock-outs that might disappoint customers.

  3. Granular Bin Locations:

    Efficient warehouse management requires a well-structured location system. Many manufacturers fall short in utilizing locations properly, often having only a few broad categories like “Main” or “Finished Goods.” RF Plus™ advocates the ZABLB system (Zone, Aisle, Bay, Level, Bin) to identify all warehouse locations with granularity. Additionally, formalizing location types (bulk, production, overstock, and pick areas) streamlines operations, reducing search times and improving overall efficiency.

  4. Optimizing Inbound Processes:

    The arrival of goods initiates a series of critical processes, including labeling, inspection, PO updating, and putaway. RF Plus™ offers solutions for handling supplier barcodes through alias functions, making it possible to scan supplier part IDs effortlessly. For putaway, FIFO considerations are crucial, and RF Plus™ can direct your staff to appropriate pick or overstock locations based on the inventory management system’s requirements.

  5. Enhanced Traceability:

    Barcodes and trace information, such as lot or serial numbers, are essential for inventory control and customer traceability requirements. With RF Plus™, you can track multiple trace fields efficiently, even accommodating additional fields as needed. This level of traceability is crucial for FIFO-based inventory turns and providing customers with comprehensive traceability information.

  6. Work-in-Progress (WIP) Tracking:

    The manufacturing process often involves several operations before a finished product is ready. However, parts waiting for the next operation can lead to confusion and inefficiency. RF Plus™ solves this problem by tracking “in-between” goods, optimizing production flow, and reducing downtime and searching efforts.

  7. Embracing Daily Cycle Counts:

    Annual physical counts are commonplace, but daily cycle counts offer substantial benefits in terms of location and quantity accuracy. Many companies avoid daily cycle counts due to resource constraints and lack of knowledge on setting them up. With RF Plus™, you can easily schedule cycle counts based on ABC product categories, enhancing inventory accuracy while saving time and resources.

Material management is a crucial aspect of manufacturing that requires continuous improvement. The seven best practices offered by RF Plus™ provide a solid foundation for streamlining inventory processes, enhancing productivity, and reducing operational costs. By leveraging the power of barcoding and real-time data capture, manufacturers can scale their operations efficiently and meet the demands of a growing market. With RF Plus™, your manufacturing company can overcome the challenges of inventory management and set a course for sustained success.

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