How to Ensure Your Recommendation is What’s Best for Your Organization
With all the details you have to consider when looking for the right embedded software for your enterprise barcode scanning solution, the chance to get overwhelmed can be vast and intimidating. It pays to have some helpful guidance from a company that has been down this road multiple times.
Code’s engineers and customer service team developed the following checklist to guide engineers and software developers through the complicated steps of choosing the best barcode scanning SDK with confidence. With over 20 years of success helping clients of all sizes implement barcode scanning into manufacturing processes and business applications, we found that through using a checklist you will be able to efficiently research and identify a barcode scanning solution and the vendor that will best deliver on your select requirements and please your internal stakeholders.
At Code, we’ve identified two main groups of project engineers and software developers who reach out to us for product evaluations. We’re here to help you be part of Group Two!
The first group is comprised of engineers and developers who were simply given the task to find a barcode reader SDK to easily integrate the scanning functionality into the company’s over-arching project build. They had no details of the barcode symbologies to be read, speed and accuracy required, or other performance requirements.
The second group is made up of software engineers who had, in-hand, a comprehensive list of software scanning requirements often supplied by the CTO or chief project engineer. These detailed documents are typically called Proof of Concept (POC) or Request for Quote (RFQ) and include exact specifications on the optics the barcode software will be required to function with, read rates needed, operating system requirements, and other critical details.
You can request a free Barcode Scanning Software Proof-of-Concept document by speaking with a sales representative.
Step 1: Develop Your Requirements
At the beginning of your barcode scanning software search, you may not have a complete picture of what you’re looking for. All good quests begin with the first step, so start by developing your barcode scanning requirements and affirming them with the stakeholders in your company. Determining up front the non-negotiable requirements, the mission critical requirements, and the “we’d love to have this” options, can save a lot of last-minute headaches down the road. Make sure you connect with team members who will be involved with the decision and those who will be relying on your decision for their job. It’s important you verify terms and terminology and reach a clear understanding of what everyone involved wants in this solution so you’re not arguing semantics when you thought you’d reached an agreement.
Try to reach consensus on:
- What is the issue this barcode scanning software is primarily intended to address?
- Who will be using the product?
- How will the software be implemented?
- What are the minimum requirements the software must meet?
- What are parameters of the data capture?
- What does your organization hope to achieve with the addition of this embedded software solution?
- What deadlines do you have that will impact this process?
As you work with your team and stakeholders, you’ll find other questions that need to be addressed as well. Designate someone to record the additional questions you’ll uncover and be sure to ask them. You can also ask us here at Code what the most important factors are for you to address. We will provide you with straight-forward, honest answers as you begin your search. When you are confident you’ve got answers to as many questions as you could identify, move on to the next step in the process.
Step 2: Begin Your Research
Finding a vendor that is the right fit for your needs can seem like trying to find that one sock that’s gone missing in the dryer. To make things simpler, start with any marketing materials from vendors or solutions that you may have collected at tradeshows or received in your inbox.
Perform an internet search for “barcode decoder” or “barcode scanning software;” it will result in pages of topics and include the top barcode scanning choices such as Code CortexDecoder and other competitive vendors. These are the vendors to focus your research on. Check out the company websites and read customer testimonials. Make a list of questions you want to ask and ask others to review the materials and sites as well.
All of this will give you a feel for who might be a good fit and whether or not you think they can provide the barcode scanning software you need. There are other sources you can look to as well, including:
- White Papers – a chance to look at in-depth topics relating to the company and their scanning solutions.
- LinkedIn – a good place to learn how the company conducts business, read some of their press coverage, and see how they interact with their employees and other companies.
Once you’ve gathered the data you need, you’ll want to develop a list of your top candidates to move on to the next step (3-4 candidates are typically sufficient).
Step 3: Demonstration and Test Drive
You’ve determined what your needs are, and you’ve investigated potential vendors to see how they can meet your needs. Now it’s time to kick the tires and take the software for a spin.
When you’re ready for the barcode scanning software demo, come with a list of questions and a checklist of performance expectations. Take thorough notes and make sure anyone who is joining you for the presentation does the same.
The more information and input you can collect from the demo, the more thorough your understanding will be of the pros and cons of this software solution. Work through the demos from your short-list of candidates, helping further narrow your list. When you settle on a company and solution that looks as if it can meet your expectations, set up a trial so you can gauge the actual performance of the software within your environment.
During your trial period, create challenge scenarios for the barcode scanning software to see how it performs under the best, and worst, case scenarios:
- Low light or changing light situations
- Repeated, rapid scanning
- Multiple code types
- Damaged codes
- Hard-to-read/faint codes
- Curved surface reads
- Uneven surface reads
- Small/blurred codes
- Data collection and accuracy
This is an opportunity to find other areas you may want this solution to address that hadn’t previously been discovered. This is also a good time to begin evaluating the customer support and service the vendor provides. It’s important to know the level of responsiveness and expertise of this resource long before you have an actual need for it.
For example, Code offers a free trial of the barcode scanning SDK that can integrate with your specific needs and with your existing systems, such as the Android, IOS, Windows, MacOS, Linux or other operating systems. You can decide which barcode symbologies to include in your free trial, plus much more. We fine-tune the software for your evaluation so you can experience first-hand how the software performs under your circumstances – and we will provide feedback how you can optimize situations for the best possible performance even under less than ideal scanning environments.
Step 4: Recommendation
Like a piston in the cylinder, all your research, demos, trial tests, and team feedback have compressed into the final evaluation steps. To wrap up your evaluation and recommendation there may be a few parts of the evaluation engine that have yet to fall into place. Some of those final pieces typically include:
- Software licensing options and flexibility
- Price quotes for various software configurations
- Implementation costs and customization additions
- Support, maintenance, or upgrade costs
- Non-Disclosure Agreements signed
- Contracts prepared and signed
Attending to these finishing pieces of the evaluation will help you move into the final vendor recommendation with clarity and confidence. They will also make the transition to onboarding your new barcode reading software much easier and smoother.
Step 5: Implementation
Implementation is really where the rubber meets the road. If you’ve done all your homework and selected the best vendor for your barcode scanning solution, then implementation should hum along like a finely-tuned engine.
Sometimes, however, misguided vendors try to use a one-size-fits-all approach. They want to pull your software from their standard box-of-solutions and apply it to your company like they did to the companies that came before you. If you don’t fit into their implementation box, they become hard to work with, hard to get support from, and very slow to reach the implementation you envisioned.
Code customizes implementation and support to meet the needs of each individual client whether that company is large or small. Code gives you access to an experienced technical team and engineers who make implementing your software easy and smooth. We can provide additional consultation and training to make certain that your staff is knowledgeable on every detail of your solution, and we are available for ongoing support so your adoption and integration are flawless.
Many companies claim they can supply and support an enterprise-grade barcode scanning and decoding software solution, but not all of them specialize specifically in this application. It’s important to be clear about your expectations and needs, to conduct a thorough evaluation of the vendors you’re considering, and to get under the hood and test the software in the conditions it will be used.
Your barcode scanning SDK research and evaluation should uncover exactly what you’re looking for. This checklist will help take you down the recommendation road. For more help, let Code show you how our years of experience in barcode reading algorithms, dedication to service, and superior quality can benefit your organization. We are data capture experts. To learn more, contact us at: 1+ 801-495-2200.