Barcodes vs. RFID and Its Continued Success in Manufacturing and Services

Barcodes vs. RFID and Its Continued Success in Manufacturing and Services

Amber A. Smith-Ditizio (Texas Woman's University, USA) and Alan D. Smith (Robert Morris University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch458
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to study barcodes and their implementation. Barcodes have been around since 1949 and have made strides in supply chains across the world. Barcodes are cost effective and one of the most efficient means of tracking to date. Specifically, 2 companies were chosen to be reviewed, Wal-Mart and Stone, Rudolph & Henry, PLC, by their use of barcodes in their perspective industries, for use by governments, manufacturing, and service industries for identification and error reduction.
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Introduction

Versatile Nature of the Ubiquitous Barcode

A barcode is a machine-readable code in the form of numbers and a pattern of parallel lines of varying widths, printed on a product (Sirico, 2010). Barcodes are essentially a type of symbolic language that uses printed horizontal strips of vertical bars used for identifying specifications. An accompanying scanning device reads the barcode by moving a beam across the symbol (McCathie, 2004). Barcodes can come in one-dimension (1D), 2-dimension (2D), or three-dimension (3D). Barcode systems are used in routine business from the manufacturing and ordering process to the parking lot after purchased. Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver invented the barcode in 1949. Silver overheard a conversation of a supermarket executive from a food chain called Food Fair. The general rationale was to have an automatic system for capturing product information (Seideman, 2015).

Barcode technologies have had a relatively long history with almost every type of business that keeps track of goods and services. Point-of-sale (POS) is probably the most common use for the barcode (Chen & Dubinsky, 2003). Customers typical view barcodes on almost every item that is available for purchase within a retail environment. The cashier uses the barcode to scan the items into the computer system and retrieve the amount the customer will owe for that particular item. Barcodes in manufacturing help in inventory control, quality control, and help measure productivity throughout the manufacturing process. Barcodes are used for packaging, tracking time and attendance of employees, and measurement of proficiency (Jain, Benyoucef, & Deshmukh, 2008; Kamhawi, 2008; Kay, 2007; Kearney, 2005; Kennedy & Widener, 2008; Koong & Lin, 2007). Evaluating the efficiency of barcode systems routinely reduce costs while improving quality, on-time performance, and reducing errors.

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Background

The future need for barcodes will probably be increasing due to its universal acceptance and easy-to-use with low costs of producing barcodes (e.g., it is usually included in the cost of printing labels or packaging materials on products) (Cowles, Kiecker, & Little, 2002; Davis, 1989; Devaraj, Fan, & Kohli, 2002). As the population grows, so does the need to make workplaces and their environments more efficient and safer. Barcodes are employed in supply chain management (SCM) applications in the healthcare industry. The use of barcodes in healthcare facilities allows hospitals to save space and reduce overstock by ordering the supplies needed daily (Harrop, Das, & Holland, 2016). In the retail setting, barcodes are becoming a part of smartphones with apps. The consumer can shop and scan items through the convenience of their phone. This easily enables the retailer to track consumers’ spending. A majority of manufacturing companies are turning to the barcode system as well. The use of barcodes in manufacturing facilities assists in making the manufacturing process faster and more efficient. However, with barcodes, as with all IT-intensive technologies, have important advantages and disadvantages to consider, as illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1.
Selected advantages and disadvantages of barcoding as a part of identification technologies
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Inventory Control (through tracking and essentially error-free readings)Costs (associated equipment and replacement costs)
Accuracy (2D, 3D Barcodes), Error reductionAccuracy (especially with linear barcode)
Time savingsLimitations by line of sight scanning
Easy-to-useSecurity issues, as they are easily read

Key Terms in this Chapter

RFID-Embedded Technologies: RFID technologies are types of automatic data capture techniques that use a combination of active and passive senders and receivers to collect and store codified information for further uses. The implementation of such technologies should lead to improved managerial and/or supply chain performance. On the surface, there appears to be few drawbacks to implementing such technology into a production process, assuming it enhances performance and improves output of the product. The main issues surrounding the RFID applications are whether the initial costs and labor required to utilize this technology are worth it, and will result in a positive outcome of revenues.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII): Personally identifiable information (PII) refers to all information, including personal financial and healthcare information that is traceable to an individual customer or patient.

Barcoding Technology: A long-term and very reliable type of AIDC technology, it is known for its very accurate and economical approaches to identity products and machine-readable information from a variety of manufactured goods and services. Most barcodes use a type of standardized bars and spacing coding or symbology, certified by an international standards body (GS1 System). This system provides for the universal global acceptance of many types of barcodes designed for a variety of shipping and identification applications. Example barcode formats that are in common use today include EAN/UPC, GS1 DataBar, GS1-128, ITF-14, GS1 DataMatrix, GS1 QR Code and Composite Components.

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