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Barcode Label Software for Small Startups, Mid-Size Businesses, and Large Enterprises

A wide variety of industries and businesses rely on barcode label design software today for a number of uses, including barcode creation for packaging, products, and shipping. The reason many large enterprises are sold on barcode printing is the ability to create legible, accurate, and accessible information that enables employees to be more efficient with their time and efforts. Product inventory, health care and prescriptions, boxes and postage for shipping...all these items carry barcodes. But, large enterprises aren’t the only entities that can benefit from using barcodes.

Small businesses, both online and brick-and-mortar, are realizing the benefits behind barcodes. But, to study the field of barcode label software could make a grown business owner cry. Which software to use, and why? What software is geared solely to large business, and which one can grow with your business? You might be relieved to know that the questions to ask about barcode label software are no different for small business than they are for large corporations.

We’ll help you wade through the many types of barcode labeling software with eight simple questions you can apply to any software you’re favoring. These questions will cover important features and services you’ll need to consider, including support, training, scalability, compatibility, compliance, design options, and more.

1. How scalable is this software?

This is, perhaps, the most often-asked question we hear from small businesses, and it’s an important question for a number of reasons. First, business growth can often surpass the efficiency of “free” or less robust barcode software. Look for software that offers basic labeling services, but that also offers transitional paths between basic to more complex needs. These scalable solutions should be wide ranging in their support and services, including offering advancements in technology and operating systems.

If you are operating -- or plan on operating -- a global business, small or large, ask about global options. The ability to integrate with other business systems is a priority, as well as another level of support and services. It’s also important that you select an option that can easily integrate with your other business systems, including inventory tracking systems, warehouse management systems, and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems.

The point behind scalability is to choose a software that is easy to integrate and transition with your company’s progress. This ability to integrate and grow is essential for your company’s success.

2. Is the software compatible with my printer drivers?

This question seems simple, and most software companies may ask the question for you. But, if you aren’t dealing with a knowledgeable salesperson and picking off the shelf, you need to know if the software is compatible with Windows or if it contains embedded printer drivers. The latter option is preferable, because the software is geared to retain design quality if you switch printers. The best option, however, is when the software vendor maintains direct technology partnerships. This option means that the software is accessible with a wide variety of printer drivers. This option means that you can grow and not worry as much about your choice of printer.

3. Does the software vendor supply a wide range of support and training options?

You may have a geeky cousin who is handling all the barcode mysteries for you, but that cousin may not fit the bill as your company grows. And, for larger enterprises, this question is a priority. Without this support and training, you may end up spending more time...and more money...than you planned when you set out on this venture.

One of the first questions you need to ask along with the support and training is about an ROI (Return On Investment) calculator...can they justify and balance your expense on this software with its benefits? Once you can validate and justify the expense for your specific company and its future, you might ask about the availability of support and training options.

  • How many employees will you need to dedicate to this effort?

  • Is there an online knowledge base available for ongoing upkeep?

  • Can experts come to your aid either in person or through connecting with your operations online?

  • How involved is the implementation process?

  • Does the vendor offer customer interface development if you need it?

Don’t let a “value added” network turn you off when it comes to software selection. Some vendors can offer additional support and benefits through this option. You also will find on-site training or virtual training. If you find a vendor that offers both on-site and virtual training as well as a resourceful knowledge base, then tag that vendor for further investigation. You may not be able to afford that option now, but you may want it as you grow.

Bottom line: You cannot afford downtime, and your software can be one of the scariest links in your production line. If that software fails, you fail. Take time to make sure you have backup and support, including the vendor’s ability to offer support for label design.

4. How difficult is the software transition?

This question may not seem important if you are new to barcode software options, but it can make a difference down the road. And, if you’re running legacy barcode software that should be transported to the morgue, this question is very important.

If you choose a software that is fully capable of label design and conversion services, then you’re looking at a great option. If that new software can streamline from your legacy option, then you’re in even better shape.

5. What if my business outlives your software?

If you look at your barcode software as your business partner (even if it’s off the shelf), then you can understand the seriousness of this issue. This is a great question to ask, because you’ll learn more about your licensing and payment options. Look for subscription licensing, where you can use the software with lower up-front costs while leaving room for flexible future licensing requirements. This flexibility is very important when it comes to your business growth, because you’ll be able to adapt to changes in your labeling production readily.

Also, if you’re not locked into rigid contracts, then you have the ability to include upgrades and updates to stay current with tech developments. Look for multiple subscription licensing for growth options, including single user, network versions, and both online and offline hard key options.

6. Is the software vendor familiar with my industry?

No matter if you operate a large corporation or a small mom-and-pop, this question is necessary so you can choose a vendor who understands the implementation you need to save time and money. One of the most important issues here concerns government compliance and regulations, or other industry standards.

The healthcare industry is one example of a field that requires meeting a wide range of government regulations in their labeling processes. Vendors also need to meet healthcare industry needs with a variety of complex barcode designs. If you are managing a business that requires rigid government compliance, it’s important to find a solution that can meet industry standards and regulations.

7. Can the software vendor supply reviews and personal testimonies?

Truth in advertising still exists, so a great way to learn more about a software vendor’s product and services is to ask for testimonials and case studies. These stories can help you to not only measure the vendor’s product, but to learn more about the vendor’s willingness to solve problems. The latter is especially important in large-scale implementations where a number of issues could arise that might impede your operations. If you can find their work and examples in your same industry, then you might feel confident about their abilities to help your business.

8. Is the software vendor truly interested in my needs?

Every once in a while, you might run across a vendor who cares little about your needs and more about his or her bottom line. Don’t waste your time with a product that exhibits lousy service on the front end. The right vendor will have the experience you need for your business and for your industry. Look for a vendor who will make recommendations not only on your current needs, but with a perspective on future growth.

Although choosing a barcode software system can seem daunting, the time you spend on asking pertinent questions can save you time and money in the long haul. By framing your selection as a business partner, you can look at this decision-making process as an interview, where the best candidate can make your business a stellar player in the market.