With the many advances in technology and the implementation of complex computer software, controlling and managing inventory has become more streamlined and efficient. A central process associated with these improvements has been the development for different methods for marking and coding merchandise and equipment. Processes that were labor intensive, as well as inaccurate, have been upgraded giving greater control of on hand supplies and moving stock.
Marking is an important part of manufacturing for tracking quality control, compliance with regulations, management of the supply chain, and supporting marketing initiatives. More recently, customers are requiring marking codes to identify and code their purchases. The selection of the right marking and coding system has to be applicable to a company’s existing format and fit the needs of its customers.
Marking codes are available in dot peening on metal and plastic parts, as well as laser marking and chemical engraving. Several technologies are available to meet manufacturing and customer requirements. As easy as the decision may seem, there are multiple factors to consider when deciding on a specific system, many of which seem unrelated to the purpose of the system.
A common choice, often the least expensive, is a contact or ink system designed to imprint a number, description, or shape. Though this is may seem like a logical choice, there are factors that may make it unproductive and inefficient, such as the condition of the manufacturing environment, that may be either too hot and humid or too cold. Add to the conditions the type of ink and if it will last for the life cycle of its use. In the end, it may be necessary to choose a more expensive method at the beginning that will save money in the long run.
Marking has several benefits that can help an organization be more productive and efficient. On the surface, coding seems to be a method of improving control and tracking of critical elements of the operation, which is a natural assumption considering its purpose. For operations that have moving stock, it is necessary to identify each device or piece, which has been previously done with a complex serial number. A marking code can easily identify and log the status equipment with the input of an easy to identify symbol or code, replacing complicated numbers.
For maintenance purposes, machines that are out for repair can be tracked and their progress monitored. An added benefit is the capability of letting operators know that their equipment is being worked on avoiding accidents and unsafe conditions. Also, transporting and storing hazardous materials can be improved with the appropriate code that can send reminders when the materials need to be moved or upgraded.
Marking coders are the beginning of the implementation of an identification and classification process that takes a confusing and cumbersome system and makes it streamlined and user friendly. Selecting the system that best meets your needs is just the first step for better control and tracking.