Modern logistical operations are significantly enhanced with technology such as bar code scanning, GPS and wireless communication. In a global economy, many companies operate manufacturing facilities overseas. It can be quite a challenge to track the movement of products for thousands of miles. To maximize profits, businesses are responsible for closely monitoring their goods between production to store delivery.
Quality control methods include time and date stamps that clearly identify when and where something was produced and packaged. Traditional bar codes could be combined with QR codes that are printed onto adhesive labels. Sometimes, it might be necessary to leave permanent marks on actual packages. Every time a product is scanned, a GPS location has to be generated along with other data that is recorded and transmitted to company managers. For long distance freight shipments, products only get scanned when they are loaded and unloaded. Some innovative microchip technology can improve the tracking process of overseas shipments. For example, entire containers could be marked with small chips that have GPS receivers and transmitters. While products are spending days or weeks on ships and trains, real time locations could be reported to the company that is expected to receive the deliveries. Additionally, microchips could have sensors that monitor the ambient temperature and humidity as well as other relevant parameters.
When products arrive into a warehouse, they must also be monitored with advanced tracking tools. For example, distribution software is used to keep real time inventory reports in order to account for lost or missing merchandise. Warehouse workers might be told to scan packages multiple times per day. Warehouse software is optimized for onsite computers and handheld bar code scanners that use wireless signals. Sometimes, it might be necessary to integrate databases directly into the internal memory of portable devices used for quality control management. Such technology guarantees that warehouse workers can accurately track inventory even if a local area network connection is down due to power failure. Additionally, some bar codes on products can be scanned with smartphones if any handheld scanners are not available.