Using Barcode Scanning Solutions with Oracle Applications and Desktop Computers

An Oracle White Paper August 2000

Using Barcode Scanning Solutions with Oracle Applications and Desktop Computers


Oracle Applications provides a full-suite of applications that enable a business to maximize operating efficiencies while tracking a high level of operational data, allowing easy access to important information. One way to increase the speed of data entry is to integrate Oracle Applications running on a desktop computer with a barcoding and scanning system. This paper provides an outline of how this would be accomplished and illustrates the options available when implementing such a system. For information on Oracle mobile applications for radio frequency (RF) enabled computers, refer to the product release announcement for Supply Chain Mobile Applications and/or Oracle Warehouse Management System.

Barcodes can be thought of as a font for information on a label; often these labels that contain bar codes also have human readable text. Utilizing a bar code symbology to encode information on a label allows that information to be read fast, with accuracy, and with 1 in 1 million substitution error rate. Using barcodes as part of any operation has many advantages over other labeling methods. First, barcodes virtually eliminate data entry errors due to labels being misread or typographical errors. Information is entered exactly the way it appears on the label all the time, every time. If a barcode is illegible (or misscanned), the system will not recognize it and generally requires manual keyed input or a valid scan. Second, barcodes significantly increase the speed of data entry. It is no longer necessary to carefully type information into a keyboard. The barcode immediately transmits all encoded information directly to the computer -- sometimes as much as an entire page of text in one scan. Finally, barcodes make higher levels of information tracking possible. While some information might be cumbersome to track through keyboard entry systems because of the volume and complexity of data (such as serial number information), that information can be collected effectively and efficiently by using barcodes. There are many different types of barcode symbologies that can be used depending on the size of barcode needed and amount of data encoded. Linear


barcode symbologies (Code 39, Code 39 Extended, Code 128) are usually capable of encoding numbers and letters, but grow larger with the amount of data stored in them (Figure 1). More advanced 2D barcodes (PDF417, Data Matrix) are capable of encoding large amounts of data in a very small barcode (Figure 2).
Figure 1: Example of a linear Code 39 Extended bar code

Figure 2: Example of a 2D PDF417 bar code.

Barcodes can be used in any number of industries and operations. Manufacturing facilities can use barcodes to encode SKU, lot, and serial number information. Distribution facilities can use barcodes to encode document numbers like Purchase Orders, Pick Slips, and Sales Orders. The uses for barcodes are practically limitless.
Barcode Scanners

Barcode scanners enable immediate retrieval of data from barcodes to be entered directly into a computer system. Just as there are many types of barcodes, there are many types of barcode scanners depending on the industry, location, and usage of the scanner. Wand scanners (Figure 3) are extremely small, lightweight, and are ideal for environments where a small, rugged device is needed. Handheld wedge scanners (Figure 4) are larger and feature a trigger for initiating the laser scan. They are comfortable and rugged while remaining light and very mobile. Fixed scanners (Figure 5) usually sit within a desk and the barcodes are brought in front of the scanning surface. They are used primarily where the objects to be scanned are relatively small and light and can easily be passed over the surface. Finally, there are wireless wedge scanners (Figure 6) that can be used where mobility is important and it may be difficult to move the items that need to be scanned.
Figure 3: Example of a wand scanner

Figure 4: Example of a handheld wedge scanner


Figure 5: Example of a fixed scanner

Figure 6: Example of a wireless wedge scanner

Using Scanning Systems with Oracle Applications

Most barcode scanners are capable of connecting directly to a desktop computer. The scanner plugs directly into the desktop computer that is running Oracle Applications and is recognized as keyboard input to the operating system. Information entered via the barcode scanner gets populated into the field the cursor is currently on, just as if that information had been typed into the keyboard. All Oracle Applications list of value (LOV) and field validation is processed in the same way as well. Using a barcode scanning system is an excellent way to ensure accurate and efficient data entry. Such an implementation is best suited for a workstation location with close proximity to a terminal running Oracle Applications. In work areas where high velocities or volumes of transactions within Oracle Applications are needed, a barcode scanner may yield significant improvements. Different locations within the same facility can even use different types of barcoding equipment according to the particular needs. At the end of a manufacturing line, a fixed scanner may be used to enter item and lot information for material as it comes off the line. A wireless wedge scanner might be used at the shipping dock to scan shipping information and document numbers. A wand scanner might be used within Oracle Assets to scan fixed assets tags. Integrating a barcode scanning system with Oracle Applications is an easy and effective way to streamline a slow data-laden operation into a much more efficient and accurate organization.


Using Barcode Scanning Solutions with Oracle Applications and Desktop Computers August 2000 Author: Paul Taylor Contributing Authors: Copyright © Oracle Corporation 2000 All Rights Reserved Printed in the U.S.A. This document is provided for informational purposes only and the information herein is subject to change without notice. Please report any errors herein to Oracle Corporation. Oracle Corporation does not provide any warranties covering and specifically disclaims any liability in connection with this document. Oracle is a registered trademark and Enabling the Information Age,

Oracle Corporation World Headquarters 500 Oracle Parkway Redwood Shores, CA 94065 U.S.A. Worldwide Inquiries: 650.506.7000 Fax 650.506.7200 Copyright © Oracle Corporation 2000 All Rights Reserved


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