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TECHNICAL BULLETIN - 1062

Implementing a Bar Code System

This technical bulletin describes the steps needed to set up an automated data collection system to track company assets.

Automatic data collection of asset information is used to enter and track information about a business inventory. Automatic data collection can be implemented by directly querying the assets or by scanning bar code symbols printed on labels affixed to articles that need to be identified and tracked.

Assets such as computers and intelligent peripherals can directly return asset information to the NetKeeper Inventory program. Other assets such as keyboards, monitors or chairs cannot provide asset information. Use bar code labels on assets that cannot automatically return information to collect inventory data. Using the appropriate software and hardware, such as NetKeeper Inventory Support Bar Code System, asset managers can collect timely and accurate information about all company assets.

Asset Managers can fully automate data collection using NetKeeper LAN Support products and the NetKeeper Inventory Support Bar Code System.

Major benefits of Automated Data Collection include:

Speed

  • Unlike data collected manually, there is virtually no delay between when the data is collected and when the data can be made available. Up to date inventory data is important to asset managers, help desk managers and system administrators.
  • Accuracy

  • Data collected by NetKeeper LAN Support programs is electronically supplied by the computer or intelligent peripheral, virtually eliminating errors. Data collected by NetKeeper Inventory Support Bar Code System is automatically collected from preprinted labels affixed to the asset. The error rate reading such labels is typically one in three million characters.
  • Improved speed and accuracy will lower the fixed labor costs to manage your company assets and simultaneously improve the support to the asset's user.

     

    IMPLEMENTING YOUR BAR CODE SYSTEM

    While the NetKeeper System provides you with a ready to run software system to implement your data collection it is the Asset Manager's task to plan and implement the organization supporting the NetKeeper System.

    Good projects start with a well-thought plan. The following comments may help you in planning your automatic data collection system. These comments concern the implementing of the Bar Code Data Collection System.

    PLANNING YOUR BAR CODE DATA COLLECTION SYSTEM

    The result of your automatic data collection system is information. Clearly define what information you need, how often and where.

    PLANNING THE IMPLEMENTATION

  • Check that you have the necessary human resources available. Nothing is more frustrating than a project that goes nowhere because it is staffed with personnel with non existent time available.
  • Much of the project's success hinges on the labels you use. For asset tracking you need permanent labels. Flimsy paper labels may look great but they will soon deteriorate or even fall off.
  • Bar code readers will not reliably read torn or dirty labels. The label you select must be "cleanable". Equipment will accumulate dust and dirt and large quantities.
  • We recommend that you use labels printed on aluminum stock. The stock should be thick enough to be tough and still be pliable to install over curved surfaces. Use a good self adhesive stock or better yet, use epoxy to permanently glue the label.
  • Test the label in your environment. Your local humidity, heat or dryness may affect some adhesives.
  • Outsource or in-house
  • If you are using aluminum labels, you need to outsource the printing. Paper or Mylar labels can be printed in-house, on demand.
  • Label Design
  • Design a label as small as possible. Make sure that there is sufficient "label real estate" to print the bar code. Print the asset ID both in bar code and in text form.
  • Check with us that your label design is compatible with your Bar Code equipment. Colors, placement and size are important to the performance of the bar code scanner.
  • Symbology
  • The symbology defines how the "bars" of the bar code are encoded. There are many symbologies. For asset management we recommend code 39 symbology. This widely used symbology allows for alphanumeric tags.
  • Training

  • Allow time and resources for training. A portable bar code reader is a computer and the user must learn how to operate the computer and the data collection software.
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