How a 3PL warehouse uses barcodes and why they’re important

How a 3PL warehouse uses barcodes and why they are important

As a growing business, there comes a time when your sales volume will grow larger than what you’re able to handle yourself.

While you know your product intimately when it comes to picking and packing them, it’s no longer enough to simply know what your products look like—you need a tracking system in place.

The same goes for when you work with a 3PL warehouse partner. They won’t just rely on a description of your product to help them find, pick, pack, and post it—this is how mistakes get made.

As sales grow, your business needs a more efficient and technologically advanced system that helps you streamline your inventory management and optimise your shipping process.

And it doesn’t have to be difficult: this is when its time to look into barcodes.

What is a barcode, really?

A barcode is a machine-readable representation of data that’s displayed as a sequence of black bars and white spaces of varying widths. It’s a graphical representation of your product codes or UPCs.


How does a 3PL warehouse use barcodes?

Your 3PL warehouse partner can help you deploy a barcode system for your products to simplify your sales and inventory management processes.

When a 3PL receives a sales order into its warehouse management system (WMS), the order will include the products on the order and the barcodes associated with each product.

From there the 3PL picker uses a specialised scanner—often called a RF scanner—to pick the order. The picker will open the sales order on the scanner, and scan the barcodes of the products as they’re picked.

This eliminates any possibility of error, as there is no human interpretation involved: the barcode does all the talking. Once the entire order is picked the WMS enables it to move to picking and packing.

If the picker scans an incorrect product, the WMS identifies this, and it won’t let them continue with the order until all the correct products are scanned.

The information is then automatically fed back to the WMS and the order progress gets updated, along with your inventory levels, so you always know how much stock you have on hand.

Creating a home for your stock
3PL warehouses use barcodes to identify the specific bays in the warehouse where the product is stored. These could be pallet spaces, or pick faces. This means every space in a warehouse has a specific address that’s stored in the warehouse management system (WMS). This ensures every product’s location is tracked, which results in greater picking efficiency and more accurate stock control.

The benefits of using barcodes in your eCommerce business

Easy identification

Rather than relying on hand-written signs or visual identification, 3PL warehouse staff can scan barcodes in specific warehouse bays. This allows them to immediately confirm the item, rather than using visual confirmation to identify the product. They’re able to see the full suite of data associated with the product, enabling immediate confirmation that it’s the correct item.

Optimise your picking and packing

Barcodes can be used to scan orders for picking, packing, and postage. By scanning barcodes, 3PL warehouses can quickly and easily identify the location of your products, which bay they’re in, and monitor your inventory levels.

When your customers place an order, the barcodes help the warehouse workers know exactly which products to pick and pack. This ensures that the right products are picked from the shelves, packed, and sent to the right customer, and that your orders get fulfilled quickly and accurately.

Enhance your inventory management

A 3PL warehouse uses barcodes to track inventory, and keep track of the products moving in and out of their warehouse. This is important, as it allows them to accurately keep track of what’s actually in their warehouse, and where each product is located.

Rather than manually counting stock, barcodes enable the warehouse staff to quickly and easily count stock levels. This data is logged immediately with their warehouse management system, and can be shared with your sales platform. You always know what products you have on hand.

This is especially important in the event of a recall or other emergency situation. But in terms of pure product numbers, it allows you to understand better when to re-order, which are your best-selling products, and which need more sales support.

It’s time to take advantage of a barcode system

If your business is growing rapidly, and you need a better stock management system, making the switch to barcodes is easy. A barcode system enables you to:

  • Simplify product identification, with a clear and accurate method to identify and find specific products in your warehouse
  • Facilitate a smoother transition to working with a 3PL. With a working barcode system, you can integrate this seamlessly into their warehousing processes
  • Reduce picking and packing errors by providing clear, accurate identification codes
  • Improve your customer experience and present a more professional image to your customers


Max Packer 3PL can help you deploy a barcode system that empowers you to take control of your inventory, optimise your sales process, and streamline your picking, packing, and posting. Get in touch with our friendly team today to schedule a discovery call and discuss a 3PL solution for your business.



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