Barcode scanning software system – what does that really mean?

“We want to be able to scan barcodes” is a phrase the Clarus team hear on a regular basis. This is great for business but sometimes the drive behind scanning barcodes is misunderstood.

On it’s own, a barcode has no use to any process. It’s only when using software systems which can recognise that data and create an action from it does it become useful.

It is also worth noting that scanning product barcodes may not always be possible for all stocked items. Barcoded data and availability can vary hugely between different suppliers. Does this mean businesses can’t take advantage of a barcode scanning system?

Scanning barcodes alone does not guarantee real time information

To complicate matters further, two systems labelled as a barcode scanning system (or warehouse management system) may both appear to be similar in the marketing brochure but in reality can be miles apart in terms of the depth of functions they offer to users.

We explore common questions that should be understood when chosing the correct barcode scanning software partner.


We shout TRUE or FALSE to some common misconceptions


  • Real time information?


Scanning barcodes alone does not guarantee real time information. Genuine, real time information back into your system relies on complex task management and a WiFi network.

It is possible to achieve real time information without scanning barcodes. For example, Clarus’ iPad / tablet compatible warehouse management system can be operated from a tablet in real time to replace paper printed instructions.

This allows real time information to be fed back during each stage of receipt, putaway, pick, pack and ship.


  • Data accuracy


Scanning barcodes is a huge support to ensuring data is recorded correctly. A large string of information contained within a barcode can be recorded instantly with a scan rather than having to key this information in manually which is open to human error.

Scanning barcodes can also act as a verification to improve location accuracy for stock. By scanning an item/case/pallet into a location during putaway and again during outbound despatch processing, your warehouse team are well supported to ensure OTIF (on time in full) compliance.


  • Faster, more efficient employees


By scanning barcodes, we often speed up a range of processes. This includes removing the need to manually identify a product which can be difficult for new employees especially when a very large range of products are being handled.

Recording data is also much faster as well as more accurate. A barcode can often contain additional information such as a serial number, batch number or date (e.g. expiry date). All these additional attributes take a lot of time to record without barcode scanning in place.


  • Everything needs a barcode


A number of our clients make very good use of our software without having barcodes for their customers (3PL warehousing) or own products.

At product setup, users can define whether there is a barcode associated with the product code. If there is no barcode linked, the system will not demand a scan but instead, a confirmation it has been picked.

This is obviously not as fool proof as scanning a barcode on the item but many products do not lend themselves to barcodes. For example, small parts are unlikely to be barcoded and therefore the location itself may have a barcode instead.

In summary, a lack of barcodes should not prevent you from obtaining real time information and great management systems for the warehouse although understanding exactly how it could work for you will require a chat with an experienced member of our team.


About us

Speak to one of our team to understand how ClarusWMS’ simple cloud subscription platform can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service, better results and efficient stock taking for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.

Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.

ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfilment and manufacturing.