Why Choose a Barcode Inventory System? And How to Get Started
Barcode inventory systems can effortlessly increase the accuracy of inventory tracking. Learn how to implement 1D and 2D barcodes in your business.
When it comes to inventory tracking and management, automation, and technology can be a business owners' best friend. While manual stock counts were considered to be useful techniques back in the day, today's inventory systems are largely run by software and organized with barcoding systems.
Initially, this transition from pen and paper to barcode scanners could increase costs as businesses would need to invest in hardware, such as printers, scanners, computers, mobile devices, etc. But in the long term, this can save business owners both time and money by improving inventory efficiency and tracking accuracy while reducing human error.
1D vs. 2D Barcodes- Whats the Difference?
It is important to understand the differences between 1D and 2D barcodes in order to choose the most beneficial tool for managing inventory.
1D barcodes are what we typically imagine a barcode would look like black vertical lines with gaps between them in a horizontal rectangular shape.
When scanned, the machine is able to identify the product number, then filter through a digital inventory system in order to match the product up with the number found on the 1D barcode.
2D barcodes are normally square-shaped with numerous dots inside and are able to hold more information compared to 1D barcodes. For example, when scanned using a phone camera, these codes can link users straight to a website.
How Businesses Can Benefit
When it comes to handling stock, a barcode inventory system can help improve efficiency and accuracy, while manual efforts leave plenty of room for human errors.
Therefore, as the company begins to scale its operations and increase its inventory volumes, it will become evident that a more efficient tracking method needs to be put into place.
Barcodes can increase accountability, as well as the accuracy of inventory counts as it will increase the visibility of what stock is available and what isn't in real-time. When a customer purchases a product, by scanning the barcode, it is instantly removed from the inventory system.
By increasing the accuracy of real-time inventory tracking, businesses can also reduce the risk of mistakenly under or overstocking. Maintaining optimal levels for each product can also prevent spoilage or dead stock and reduce costs related to inventory purchasing and holding.
Barcodes can also improve customer service by reducing the time it takes to serve a customer. Instead of typing in each product code manually, a barcode enables the cashiers to reduce customer wait times significantly.
3 Steps to Setting Up a Barcoding System
1. Generate barcodes - The first step is to generate barcodes for the inventory. There are two ways to do this - do it manually and create your own barcode system design or purchase barcodes that already exist from a universal database.
There are benefits to both techniques, creating your own is often associated with increased company security. Whereas for businesses with the intent to sell their products online, barcodes purchased from a universal database are required.
Another aspect of this initial stage is printing the barcodes. While standard inkjet and laser printers can print using a label sheet, a thermal printer is highly recommended as it gives clearer and higher quality results.
2. Choose a scanner - The next step is to purchase a scanner to read the barcodes and process the data through the digital inventory system. There are a number of different aspects to consider when choosing a scanning system.
Look at the types of scanning hardware in relation to what types of products will be scanned and what the barcodes are going to be used for. The three most common scanning tools are lasers, linear imagers, and 2D area imagers.
When debating whether to choose a wireless scanner, it is important to consider whether mobility is an important part of the scanning needs of the business. If not, a stationary scanner would be perfectly acceptable.
However, it is also worth taking into account the use of batteries, memory cards or Bluetooth to store data and how these factors will affect the cost and practicality.
3. Integrate with software - Look into which inventory management software best benefits the barcode system being implemented.
This barcode inventory software will hold all of the information collected by the scanners and help keep track of stock levels. It can also assist in providing data about what stock is in need of replenishment and what stock is available etc.
Some inventory management software also enables barcode scanning using mobile apps, further simplifying the process of inventory tracking.
Inventory management is a crucial part of any business. However, it comes with plenty of responsibilities including managing inventory levels, locations as well as the tracking, shipping, and receiving of products.
With a barcode system, human error can be drastically decreased and when paired with software, this technology also simplifies the task of inventory management by increasing visibility and security in storage spaces.
Overall, the utilization of technology and automation can help create a more efficient and accurate way to manage inventory.
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