The world of barcodes could be thought of as a very dry topic and something we don’t think of and only notice when we are checking out at the grocery store. But Grant Wickes is passionate about his work and makes this an interesting topic and one that every small business should take a look at using. Grant is VP of Marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies and he sees this technology as something that can truly streamline and transform a small business operations. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk about barcoding technology and what Wasp is up to. Here is a transcript of that interview:
Steve: Grant, Wasp Barcode has been around for over 13 years and as technology has evolved, how has thiskind of technology become accessible to small businesses?
Grant: I am amazed even today at how few small businesses deploy barcode technology. Over the last three years, we have conducted quarterly customer surveys. The results have consistently shown that, prior to buying our solutions, 90 percent of our customers have never automated with barcodes before. In almost every case, we are not replacing a new technology. Rather, we are replacing a manual process. I just don’t think business owners know how much barcodes can help their business, how affordable the solutions are, and how much time and money they will save using barcode technology.
Steve: Could outline for us the types of Wasp Barcode solutions that small businesses could utilize right now?
Grant: This is the fun part, since there are so many applications. There are small retailers – the local hobby shop, liquor store, card and gift store, apparel or shoe store – the thousands of local shops that serve local communities. These smart business owners use barcodes to accurately know what products they have on the shelf, how many they have, and what’s moving (and what’s not). These customers typically pay for the system in less then two months from increased sales.
Then there are the small warehouse, service companies (HVAC, plumbing, etc.), and parts/supply depots that carry inventory, which is resold or used on service calls. Many of these companies attempt to track their inventory in their head or struggle with Excel. As a result, their stock counts are constantly wrong or out of date, causing errors, wasted time and increased expenses. By using barcode technology, these companies keep an accurate count of what inventory is on hand, where it’s located, and even the cost of these parts. For example, we had an 18-man HVAC company save more than $40,000 per year after they implemented our barcoding solution, recouping their investment in one month.
As companies get a bit larger, say more than 50 employees, many assets that are used within the company such as computers, laptops, equipment, tools and even software are lost or misplaced. As a result, these companies lose time searching for items or spend money buying redundant assets. Using barcodes and asset tracking software, companies immediately know how many assets they have, which employee has them, and where they are located. For example, an IT support contract at an army base saved more than $30,000 per year in time previously spent tracking and auditing assets. Moving from pen and paper and an Access database, he easily paid for his barcode investment in less than one month.
Steve: What is the biggest advantage for small businesses using this kind of technology?
Grant: Small businesses are looking for technology that provides rapid improvement without costing a lot or requiring complex implementation. As you can see from the few examples I mentioned, the impact and return is felt in months. What’s terrific about barcodes is:
- They’re simple and proven.
- They are affordable.
- They are easy to implement.
It’s a great message in today’s business climate: something that can quickly and effectively save time, save money and improve profitability.
Steve: There are many companies that don’t ship physical products but could benefit from this technology, like your time and attendance products. How does something like that work?
Grant: One of a company’s biggest expenses is its employees. That’s why using barcodes to track employees’ time can save money. Using a time and attendance system with badges, or even a “human barcode” (fingerprints), companies can save up to 4 percent of their annual payroll. This is achieved through accurate time calculation and eliminating “buddy punching”. Buddy punching is a term given when an employee punches in for their colleague when they may not actually be working. We had a 14-person manufacturing firm save more than $6,000 per year, which paid for our system in less than two months.
Steve: To wrap up I always like to ask a “five things” questions. So for you, what are five things a small business could do with Wasp Barcode Technologies that they may never thought of before?
- Save money tracking supplies like paper, pens, file folders – the things you use day-to-day in your business. You’ll be surprised at what you use – and how you can save big by making smarter purchasing decisions.
- Save time auditing (counting and verifying) your company assets. Like when you clean your garage at home, you’ll be amazed how many things you’ve “lost” or misplaced that will save you thousands of dollars avoiding redundant purchases
- Do more with less (or the same) people. Barcode automation allows your team to do more. Your business can grow without adding staff or become more efficient with the same staff
- Start to work on your business, not in your business. With barcodes, reports can be generated to highlight trends. Use this information to make smarter business decisions.
- Get mobile. Barcodes are not just tied to a PC. Now, web applications and mobile devices can scan barcodes, providing information you need immediately to improve your business.