Plastic cards barcodes
Information can be found below on plastic cards with barcodes. It will show both the advantages and disadvantages of barcodes as these are often used in conjunction with plastic cards (membership cards, loyalty cards, key cards etc).
Examples of benefits of a plastic cards with barcodes include storing relevant customer information to help with future membership offers or subscriptions. Generally understanding your customers and the prompting of when a customer needs to re-new membership subscriptions. There are lots and lots of benefits to installing a recording system/software package to monitor members.
Unfortunately I am unable to comment further at the moment on software packages. This is because this is quite an in-depth area. There are hundreds of packages on the market. I would suggest having a good search around the interest and contact a few companies to find out what is best for your company.
Barcode printing, plastic cards
A membership plastic card example which is numbered and has barcodes
We can offer barcodes on the following products:
Full colour solid plastic cards (760, 680 and 420 microns in thickness) measure 86mm x 54mm
Full colour solid plastic key cards measuring 24 x 54mm
Barcodes are often used for membership and loyalty schemes and help organization’s record important data regarding customers.
Now on to a little more technical information. Barcodes are made up of parallel lines. The barcode is made up of different numbers and/or letters (this is depicted by the customer but generally is a number, the number can be sequential or provided in an excel file from the customer). Please note that other variations of barcodes (such as barcodes hidden within illustrations) do exist. However for loyalty cards and membership cards we have found parallel lines to be the most effective and easy to use hence this is the option we offer.
Barcodes are scanned and read by optical scanners otherwise knows as barcode readers. The lines on the cards contain data which a machine can read. The barcode scanner can be handheld or it can be built into a counter like at a supermarket. A software package will usually be present which enables the scanned information/data to be sent to a computer. If for example the barcode is a number, this can be linked to a customer. Once scanned it will bring up the customers information when it is scanned or it could be a system where points are added each time it is used. The uses of barcodes are vast – too many to mention right now.
Barcodes can be placed on our plastic cards in any location and any size. Please bear in mind not to make the area for the barcode too small as your scanner may have trouble recognizing a very small barcode. Quite often we have found that a white box around the barcode area helps the scanner to identify it as a barcode. Obviously we produce postal proofs for any plastic cards ordered with a barcode, this enables you to test the barcode before we print your full order. We like to ensure our customers have peace of mind.
There are a number of different barcodes types/standards in use, examples include code39, code128A, EAN2, EAN5, CPC Binary, Telepen & MSI. Some of these barcode types are used for multiple products/organisations others are specific to certain industries or users. For example CPC Binary is used by the post office and Telepen is often used by Libraries. Here at Colour Plastic Cards we produce a number of barcode standards/types (list to follow).
I believe that most barcode scanners can read and scan a variety of standards/barcode types. However as already mentioned we do produce a postal proof (actual finished card) with barcode for testing before we print your full order. If in any doubt please check with the provider of your barcode scanner for the barcode standard you require. Also ask for any technical information such as optimal size etc.
Barcodes on plastic cards
The barcode hardware is relatively cost effective and hence business friendly in the current economic climate.
There are numerous software packages available, you will be hard pressed not to find one which meets your needs.
Barcodes provide accurate identification of members as well as other information (mentioned in a previous blog in more details).
It takes very little time to scan a barcode hence saving time in the long run.
Possibly less chance of failure than other scanning/swiping methods as magnetic charges are not able to disable the actual barcode on the cards.
Our barcodes are positioned behind a plastic laminate e.g. within the plastic card, which means that will not come off/become scratched over time.
They are easy to identify on the plastic cards for the staff member to scan.
Barcodes are a relatively easy concept to understand and use.
Its quite easy to set up a barcode scanning system to help streamline a business or loyalty/membership scheme.
Barcode scanners can be portable enabling ease of use -you can take the scanner to the card rather then the other way around – very useful for membership schemes.
Hope these advantages help a little, if anyone has any other advantages please feel free to let us know and any relevant ones will be added to our list.
Disadvantages of barcodes
Here we go, a little list of some disadvantages for using barcodes:
Scratched barcodes can cause problems scanning (our barcodes are positioned under plastic so them becoming scratched off is not possible).
Although the cost and time of setting up a barcode system is relatively low, some money & time output is still required. One option would be to charge customer a little for a membership card or build the cost into the membership fee. It may also be an option to charge customer for replacement cards should they be lost. I would try to steer away for charging a small fortune for replacement card as this may annoy members and cause tension.
A little time and accuracy needs to be taken when inputting a new member into the system to enable accurate recording and reporting. What is that saying? ……rubbish in = rubbish out!
The software system will need to be maintained and managed to get the optimum results – not necessarily a disadvantage but be prepared to utilise your system as much as you can, you should be getting more out of it than you put in.
The Durability of the actual barcode scanners can be an issue – just make sure you research your options carefully and select a scanner which is fit for purpose.
A general point which applies to all computer systems (not just barcodes)…MAKE SURE YOU BACK UP YOUR DATA! Please don’t waste your time installing an all singing all dancing system and forget to back up. Imagine how you would feel should all your valuable data go up in smoke – not very amused!
Please remember that the above disadvantages should be out weighed by the advantages, provided the system is maintained properly and any investment should be repaid within a matter of months.