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Improved barcode support

Several Feature Requests have already mentioned improving barcode support in incremental ways. For efficiency, barcodes are a huge requirement these days.


Barcodes for Products

At the moment, product records only support one barcode field. This is problematic. Ideally, a product record should capture a UPC/EAN, our assigned SKU, and then also the FNSKU assigned by Amazon (for products we sell on Amazon and ship to Amazon warehouses as part of the FBA program).


I'd like to be able to pull up a product record by scanning a barcode. I should be able to scan any one of the three potential barcodes mentioned above (UPC/EAN, SKU, FNSKU) and DEAR should be able to search for the product and present the record. DEAR could search in the following order: SKU, FNSKU, UPC; that would range from the most specific to least specific (in that multiple SKUs on our side could resolve to a single UPC on the manufacturer side--yes, they often do recycle the same UPC when they make a minor but not insignificant change to a product, like when they add 25% more product as a promotion--we like to assign different internal SKUs for product variants like that). Obviously, if whatever has been scanned resolves to multiple records present a list otherwise present the record.


Barcodes for Orders

I'd like to be able to pull up an order by scanning a barcode. ShipStation supports this where you can print a unique order# on a ShipStation packing slip. Scanning the barcode will pull up the order in ShipStation. Because we use ShipStation for shipping (but not picking or packing), I'd like to be able to add a barcode to each order, picking and packing slip, and then when the box gets to the warehouse, the order could be pulled up (in ShipStation) by scanning a barcode.


Barcodes for Box Contents

When shipping to Amazon FBA warehouses (its essentially a 3PL program) we are required to provide box contents whenever a box contains more than one SKU. We have three options to provide that information: fill out a web form, upload a CSV file, place a 2D barcode on the outside of each box. As of 2015, the 2D barcode has become Amazon's preferred method of identifying box contents when they receive the box at their end. They have a published format for the contents of that 2D barcode (it's a PDF417 or QR code, where PDF417 is preferred) but it's cumbersome to generate those codes. This is a task that DEAR could help with. I see it as part of an enhanced Stock Transfer feature where we could actually prepare a shipment inside of DEAR to create transfers of one or multiple SKUs to other warehouses in a more disciplined (and accountable) manner than is supported today.


The only last bit to tie this together would be proper thermal printer support. These printers don't like PDF files whatsoever (in my experience). ShipStation has resolved the problem by creating a utility app that runs in the background (on Windows and OSX) to poll the ShipStation server for labels to print, when it gets a label it prints it on the configured thermal printer by presumably talking to the printer in its native language (for Zebra printers that would EPL/ZPL). The solution is absolutely brilliant and also allows them to talk to USB-connected scales for the direct input of weights into ShipStation.





4 people like this idea

In rethinking this, I have additional comments.


I think the Product Record should up be modified to rename the "Barcode" field to "UPC/EAN". After all, a "barcode" is just an encoding of something, it doesn't tell you what that something is; by changing the name it's clear what data the field represents.


Perhaps in a record, for example a product record, an asterisk (or other icon) could be placed next to each field that will be searched when using a barcode scanner. For instance, the SKU, UPC/EAN, and FNSKU fields would have an icon next to the name or field input box to indicate this.


Adding additional clarification...


Amazon FBA

When participating in the Amazon FBA program (Amazon's 3PL program), merchants are required to cover up ALL existing visible barcodes on product packaging except for the FNSKU barcode supplied by Amazon that must be affixed. So imagine you have a warehouse full of products that have been prepared for shipment to Amazon ahead of time. There no longer is a scannable (or even visible) barcode on the outside of these products because DEAR currently only supports a single "barcode" field. It's quite the problem.


I understand that not everyone needs to assign additional barcodes. Perhaps a good solution might be to rename the existing "barcode" field as "UPC/EAN" (as mentioned previously) and then update additional attributes so that each value could be flagged (with a checkbox) as scannable? It would, in theory, allow up to 10 additional fields that could be searched when scanning a barcode. Obviously, having 10 barcodes for one product record would be extreme but by extending the additional attributes feature this way would potentially be the easiest implementation.


Also, at the moment the only way to add the assigned FNSKU to a product record is through additional attributes. This is a field that we come back to often to generate those FNSKU labels for Amazon. Each of these labels has three fields: FNSKU, human readable description, human readable condition. (Before anyone asks, no, we don't generate the actual labels in DEAR, those are created by separate barcode labeling software).



3 people like this

We also need to assign additional barcodes to products, for FBA purposes and just because some products have different barcodes, when importing them from abroad, even though they are the same product. 


If there is only 1 barcode, it will bring up an error at order processing and stock takes and stock-in, as DEAR will assume that if another barcode is scanned, it will see this as an unrecognised barcode, or a barcode for another product.


We shouold be able to scan 2 or 3 stored barcodes for that product.


An easy addition DEAR?


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