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Barcode Labels Facts

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The Barcode Express

Just a few years ago, a stamp was the most important label affixed to letters and packages. Today, it is the barcode label. In 1985, Fedex revolutionized the shipping industry by adding a barcode label to every item it shipped. Barcode labeling is now the industry standard across all private and government carriers. Thanks to barcode labeling, shipping has never been cheaper, more efficient and accurate.

Business and consumer customers benefit from barcode labeling because, in most cases, barcode labels provide a valuable tracking number for items shipped. Shippers and receivers enjoy greater peace of mind, tracking their items in near real time between point A and B. For the carriers, the chief benefit of a barcode label system is the ability to significantly reduce manual processing, sorting and handling.

Let’s take a look at how barcode label adoption in postal and courier industries work.

Post offices use thermal label printers at their counters to affix barcodes on packages. The shipper has several optional barcode labels that may be affixed to any parcel, including registered mail or return receipt labels. If you are seeking to avoid the long lines at the post office, however, you have the option of installing special software and printing your own barcode labels. Private couriers, like Fedex and UPS, also use barcode labels from the point of origin. For volume shippers, carriers provide compact thermal printers and blank label media. This shifts the package preparation process to the customer, making pick-up and initial package processing as efficient as a quick scan.

With the majority of incoming packages pre-labeled with barcodes, courier distribution facilities are highly automated. This automation has increased shipping efficiency tremendously. Over the past 15 years, the USPS has delivered in excess of 24 billion more items to 15 million more addresses with the same workforce. This is due to automated sorting, thanks to barcode labels. Barcode labels can be scanned more reliably and faster, than other kinds of systems, like character readers.

RFID (radio frequency identification), a new barcode label technology is gaining popularity, especially with large retailers like Walmart. With traditional barcode labels, packages must be placed on sorters (manually) with the label facing the reader, RFID-labels can be scanned from any surface. As RFID-label systems grow in popularity, sorting will become even more efficient.

Barcode label dividends continue to pay for couriers and consumers once packages and letters are transferred to the delivery truck. At the point of delivery, carriers use mobile printers and scanners to record delivery. These mobile devices can also be used to efficiently label and scan items being picked up at business and residential locations.

When it comes to labeling packages and letters with barcode labels, the rule of thumb is: the sooner, the better. As technology advances and sophisticated barcode labeling systems are adopted by industry, business and the consumer, perhaps we’ll see the day where “lost in the mail” is an antiquated phrase from generations past. e intersecting like never before, thanks to a code that pre-dates html: the barcode.



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