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Letting software do the work – from deployment to production – is the key to overcoming scanning technology debt and capturing new value from barcode and ID scanning workflows.

Barcode scanning and ID checks are the backbone of data capture worldwide, from logistics to retail to travel, manufacturing and beyond. The accurate, timely and complete collection of data from barcodes and IDs is the bedrock of inventory management, compliance, order picking and many more processes.

Twice as many barcodes are scanned today compared to a decade ago – a staggering 10 billion every day. Yet it is more common than you might think to find employees forced to adapt to slow, inaccurate and cumbersome legacy scanning workflows, rather than having a modern data capture solution at their fingertips.

Scandit Smart Data Capture overcomes the inefficiencies and limitations of legacy barcode and ID scanning workflows. Designed to add enterprise-grade user experience (UX), automation and performance through flexible, deploy-anywhere software solutions, Scandit gives you capabilities to improve employee, customer, and business operations.

Frontline worker using a smart barcode scanning app with batch scanning and augmented reality on a smartphone

Why does this matter? Employees adapting to the constraints of legacy barcode and ID scanning methods are hiding countless business opportunities. This “scanning technology debt” is like an anchor attached to your workers, customers, and business goals.

Addressing scanning inefficiencies and ineffectiveness raises your capacity to streamline operations, improve customer experience (CX), and adapt to future market conditions.

The hidden costs of scanning technology debt

What is scanning technology debt?

Scanning technology debt is the sum of known and hidden costs incurred when businesses do not address inefficiencies and ineffectiveness in barcode and ID scanning workflows.

As scanning technology debt accumulates, workers become less efficient and customers get frustrated. Businesses rely on putting out short-term fires, such as adding more manual steps in an ID validation workflow, rather than implementing strategies to fix core problems.

The hidden costs for frontline workers

Stockroom employee looking frustrated at the prospect of scanning barcodes on many cardboard boxes one at a time.

  • Inefficient workflows: A stockroom employee is forced to scan barcodes one at a time, increasing the probability of process mistakes and manual errors.
  • Lack of real-time help: A sales associate spends an hour reconciling inventory discrepancies due to inaccurate scan data, rather than spending time helping customers.
  • Steep learning curves: A new warehouse employee must receive training on legacy scanning hardware – how to hold it, how to recover from mis-scans – instead of working with a smartphone they already know.

The hidden costs for customers

Long line of airline passengers waiting for manual passenger verification checks at a departure gate.

  • Slow customer service: A gate agent has to perform manual passenger verification checks, causing long queues and delays.
  • Poor UX in B2C applications: Customers abandon shopping because a scanner in customer apps is slow and hard to use.
  • Broken omnichannel support: A retail manager has incomplete information about their inventory pipeline, as the previous day’s scans at the warehouse are unreliable.

The hidden costs for business goals

Delivery driver taking bag out of delivery van containing alcohol.

  • Insufficient audit trails: A compliance officer struggles to account for deliveries of age-restricted goods due to incomplete ID scan records.
  • Limited single-purpose scanning devices: A procurement manager must get special approval to purchase expensive replacement scanning hardware.
  • Security risks: Frontline workers, frustrated by slow and cumbersome official data capture systems, set up informal (or “shadow”) IT, such as WhatsApp groups, to share information – which the IT department isn’t aware of, and hasn’t vetted.

What to look for in a smart scanning solution

Leveling up your scanning technology means rethinking what it means. Speed and tech stack compatibility are just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath lie features that improve your scanning operations to work in different real-world conditions and give users the experience and ergonomics that keep them happy.

Graphic showing how many companies only see the tip of the iceberg when they assess smart barcode and ID scanning integrations

Key smart barcode scanning features

  • Speed: The time it takes to capture information and present results directly impacts labor time and costs.
  • Accuracy: How accurate captured data is (for example, the number of false positives). This is critical for business reporting, decision-making and compliance.
  • Scanning conditions: Greater adaptability to different environmental conditions and barcode label and ID document integrity means workers spend less time on manual workarounds. Businesses also get more complete and accurate data on the back end.
  • Scanning ergonomics: The scanning tool should ensure safe user operation under long-term, repetitive use, such as user interface (UI) features that reduce movement and strain.
  • Batch scanning: Allowing workers to scan multiple barcodes at once speeds up task time and reduces fatigue.
  • Augmented reality (AR): AR overlays that provide useful, real-time information at the point of scanning – such as stock information and personalized offers – improve speed and unlock business opportunities.

Smart barcode scanning solution with augmented reality (AR) overlay showing a field service technician which products need maintenance.

Key Smart ID Scanning Features

  • Speed: Fast ID scanning time means less time spent on ID scanning workflows. Scandit’s solutions can scan and validate an ID in just 1 second.
  • Accuracy: A high degree of accuracy and the elimination of human error reduces the chances of organizational and reputational risks.
  • Standardized workflows: Supporting frontline workers with prompts and alerts makes compliance easier for users, creates a clear audit trail, and reduces training needs.
  • Offline scanning: Allowing workers to scan in locations with poor network connectivity – like a delivery driver in remote locations – improves their ability to get the job done, wherever they are.
  • Secure on-device processing: Processing all data onboard the device, rather than risking exposure in transit to a backend server, protects sensitive information and increases scan speed.

Delivery driver using a smart ID scanning solution on a smartphone to scan a driver’s license for compliant delivery of age-restricted goods.

Successful deployment of new scanning technologies doesn’t stop at the user. Any solution you choose must also fit into your IT and software development environments… with minimal additional effort.

From a technical perspective, consider the following attributes:

  • Broad platform support: Scanning solutions that support a range of platforms and development stacks make integration faster and your future testing and maintenance efforts easier.
  • Hardware decoupling: Rather than lock yourself into traditional single-purpose scanning hardware, look for software-defined capabilities customizable to your business’s needs. Even lower-end iOS and Android-based commodity smart devices can run powerful scanning features like assistive UI and AR.
  • Pre-built scanning user interfaces (UI): Having UI elements out of the box helps accelerate scanning workflows, improve ergonomics, and reduce the risk of human error without additional effort and user experience (UX) expertise from your development team.
  • Enterprise-class security: Solutions should ensure compliance with data security and privacy regulations, including on-device protections, in-transit data encryption and cloud infrastructure security.
  • Robust developer support: Pre-built code samples, in-depth documentation and expert human support make implementation and maintenance easier.

Make your scanning smarter today

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How to implement your smart scanning solution

To capture immediate value from your new barcode and ID scanning solution, choose technology that deploys fast, start with a small test case, and build on success.

In addition to your existing technology procurement and deployment process, here are three scanning-specific activities to consider based on Scandit’s experiences of thousands of deployments.

1. Start small and iterate smartly

Most digital transformations are successful because they test smaller ideas, learn from failures, and scale up successes quickly. An iterative approach limits risk and encourages lessons learned that improve results.

Even simple changes rolled out in weeks can result in dramatic productivity improvements – think of no-code scanning solutions, such as Scandit Express, that deploy with minimal effort. Identify high-value scanning use cases first and trial your new solution with a small number of users. The goal is to measure impact before making improvements and expanding to other use cases.

The accurate inventory levels we get with Scandit Smart Data Capture have ultimately boosted our omnichannel revenue.

Andrea Comi, Global Director, Digital and Technology DTC, VF Corporation

To have an actionable view of progress, measure your rollouts on at least three dimensions:

  • Impact: Track scanning improvements by speed (time to capture, time to employee action), data quality (errors, omissions), budget (money spent versus planned), and secondary benefits (customer wait times, package cycle times).
  • Behavior: Are the new scanning tools shifting employee mindsets and actions appropriately? Are customers happier? Targeted analytics, direct observation, surveys, and focus groups help understand the behavioral shift.
  • Value: Measure business outcomes (revenues, costs, risks) to confirm where improvements happen and identify gaps to address later.

2. Focus on your end users

De-risk integration and rollout of your new scanning technology by focusing on user experience and onboarding:

  • User experience: Situational and environmental factors affect how users scan barcodes and IDs. Make sure to include on-the-ground user testing in your integration plan – see examples below.
  • Onboarding: While frontline workers may be skeptical of new solutions, they onboard quickly once they see the impact of smart scanning on their day-to-day. Assisting them with training and listening to their feedback helps them get to their “aha!” moment as quickly as possible.

Smart barcode scanning solution being used to scan products using a smartphone.

3. Real-world, user-focused testing

In addition to your standard software test cases, we recommend additional real-world, user-focused testing that answers the following questions:

  • Is there clear guidance, feedback, and helpful hints to foster a smooth workflow rather than a confused, error-prone activity?
  • Can you scan barcodes and IDs in different orientations, such as upside down and sideways? Flip the device upside down to see how the scanner performs.
  • Can you scan barcodes and IDs with reflections and glare?
  • Can you scan at a distance without bending or performing uncomfortable movements?
  • Do you receive scanning feedback in loud environments and while wearing headphones?

4. Bridge smart scanning value to new areas

Once your first scanning use case is implemented and measured, look for ways to expand.

For example:

  • Add new features: Enrich your scanning application with improved UX elements and additional features. For example, adding AR capabilities to assist in-store order pickers in finding products on-shelf, or combining ID and barcode scanning to make the jobs of last-mile delivery drivers easier.
  • Expand to other business areas: Once the initial use case is solid, identify one or more project areas and business units that could benefit from smarter scanning technology and roll out a new program. For example, a retailer might start by adding smart data capture to a B2C app and then expand into an employee-facing app for store operations.
  • Build out richer analytics: With comprehensive and accurate frontline scanning data at your fingertips, there are opportunities to deliver richer insights to employees and customers. For example, going beyond tracking medical device use before surgery to add analytics that verifies products are in-date for patient use.

Smart barcode scanning solution with augmented reality (AR) overlay and batch scanning being used to find products.

Capture business value now with Scandit Smart Data Capture

Scandit offers mobile and web SDKs and the standalone Scandit Express app to get you to smarter barcode and ID scanning fast. The SDKs include pre-built components (such as SparkScan, MatrixScan Count and the award-winning MatrixScan Find) for effortless integration and optimized UX.

Table comparing Scandit’s smart barcode and ID scanning products

Smart Barcode Scanning

Scandit supports all major types of barcode (or symbologies), both 1D and 2D barcodes.

No-code Standalone App

Scandit Express

For when your business:

  • Needs to deploy very quickly
  • Cannot modify existing applications
  • Has limited or non-existent engineering resources

Pre-built components

SparkScan | MatrixScan Count | MatrixScan Find

For when your business:

  • Has limited computer vision expertise
  • Wants to integrate into a mobile or web app
  • Has a busy engineering team
  • Needs a fast and optimized solution
  • SparkScan for fast, ergonomic, optimized scanning of single barcodes
  • MatrixScan Count for batch scanning in receiving and inventory counting
  • MatrixScan Find for batch scanning and identification of a single barcode among many

Custom integration

Single Scanning | MatrixScan AR | MatrixScan

For when your business:

  • Has in-house computer vision and UX expertise
  • Wants to integrate into a mobile or web app
  • Needs a custom scanning and UI solution
  • Has time and engineering resource
  • Single Scanning for efficient scanning of single barcodes
  • MatrixScan and MatrixScan AR for batch scanning and adding AR overlays

Smart ID Scanning

Scandit supports over 2500 documents worldwide, including PDF417 barcodes, Machine Readable Zones (MRZ), Visual Inspection Zones (VIZ) and identity photos.

Custom integration

ID Scan & ID Validate

For when your business:

  • Needs to move away from manual ID checks quickly
  • Wants to integrate into a mobile or web app

The right tool for overcoming scanning technology debt

Outdated scanning technologies need to remain in the past. Especially when there are options to improve worker satisfaction, productivity, customer experience, and security.

With Scandit’s portfolio of fast, accurate, and user-friendly barcode and ID scanning products, you can transform your business now without incurring costly development overhead or deployment frustration.

Try Scandit Smart Data Capture today

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