Understanding the Importance of Barcoding in Inventory Control
Barcodes and barcoding technology are everywhere. From the grocery store checkout to Amazon deliveries and expansive warehouse operations, they’re great for moving electronics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food items throughout the supply chain. And when it comes to manufacturing, barcodes are critical for inventory control.
They allow you to see which items are coming and going from your warehouses. They tell you which items are your best sellers and which ones aren’t doing your bottom line any favors. They store data about expiration dates, storage requirements, supplier invoices and customer distribution. They’re incredibly versatile and, when used effectively, can give you a leg up on your competition.
What other benefits does barcoding offer your business? How can you go about implementing a barcoding system right now?
5 Benefits of Barcode Inventory Management
1. Ease of Use
Barcoding systems are just...easy. They’re easy and inexpensive to set up, especially when compared to highly technical RFID systems. They’re easy for employees to learn so you can spend less time training them on functionality or pricing procedures. Labels are easy to design and print and they can greatly simplify tracking of easy-to-lose items, saving you time and money on searches and replacements. Finally, by facilitating picking tasks, warehouse storage becomes more organized.
Collect and record your product data more quickly and in real-time with automated barcode scanning. Improve the efficiency of your cycle counts, make warehouse receiving more productive, and identify bottlenecks to your operation. When everything is running smoothly, you can spend less time resolving customer problems and focus more on building brand loyalty, retaining existing customers and managing your reputation.
3. Durability & Versatility
Barcodes can be attached to virtually any product and surface and customized for any type of inventory or pricing data you need. Most labels are durable enough to adhere to items and equipment with uneven surfaces while withstanding wear and tear on big items that move around a lot, like furniture. And as they can’t be easily removed, you’ll also find that they offer some security benefits as well.
4. Data Visibility & Accessibility
With a barcoding system, all of your data will be stored and maintained in a single, centralized system and available for anyone in your organization at any time. By tracking products across multiple locations and closely monitoring sales trends, you’ll be able to see best sellers, low sellers, forecast customer demand and create more accurate budgets. Most barcoding systems, if properly integrated with your inventory management system, will notify you when it’s time to replenish stock. This gives you a better understanding of your inventory turnover, helping you avoid spending money ordering unnecessary stock while also reducing inventory overhead and carrying costs.
No more worrying about delayed shipments, missed orders, and over stocked or understocked items due to error-prone manual data entry. With a simple scan of a label, you’ll see tremendous improvements in quality control and inventory tracking accuracy, not to mention greater security against missing or stolen items.
How to Implement Barcodes in Your Business
In essence, every barcoding system will contain a method for printing the barcodes, scanning them, and storing their data. Exactly how the barcodes and their data are printed, scanned and stored is entirely dependent on your unique business needs, but there are some implementation best practices any business can take advantage of.
- Ensure labels are durable and used correctly. Is your barcode labeling material resilient enough to withstand being covered in dust, submerged in water, or exposed to extreme temperatures and harsh lighting conditions? Besides this consideration, label placement on the actual item is also important so as to not hide or obstruct it when it needs to be scanned.
- Do your due diligence. Make sure that your chosen barcoding system integrates well with your other existing systems. Test labels before deploying the whole system and confirm that it complies with all relevant industry standards.
- Know your tools and technologies. Know the ins and outs of all barcoding tools you’re using, from the scanners and label printers, to the cables, chargers and software involved. Stay updated on changes to barcoding technology so you don’t fall behind your competitors. And above all, don’t skimp on the hardware. The barcode scanner should be durable enough to handle being dropped occasionally, and barcode generation should be legible and fast.
- Figure out which types of labels you’ll need. In the barcoding world, you’ll find traditional 1-D barcodes -- used mostly for identifying items internally (think batch and serial numbers) -- and the newer 2-D barcodes, like QR codes, which are better for storing and sharing information (think QR codes directing you to URLs). Knowing which type you’ll need in your supply chain is critical to its success. Whatever you decide, make sure the barcode information is unique and stores all necessary information.
- Consider the needs of your employees. Are they going to be doing long-distance scanning or close-up scanning? Do you even need manual scanning or can the scanning be automated? If manual scanning is required, will your employees need to wear bulky gloves while working? If so, you might consider scanners with larger keys. The system should have good customer support and encourage a good relationship with your vendor.
Barcoding Solutions Within DATASCOPE WMS
All aspects of barcode labeling are managed within the core DATASCOPE WMS software, so there is no need for separate barcoding or inventory management software systems. While DATASCOPE ships with a standard set of labels as defined in our Label Template booklet, each of those standard templates can be customized by the client in crystal reports and all labeling options configured specifically to the client’s needs.
Labeling options available include:
- General product labels
- Reprinting of TrackID labels, such as pallet labels
- Operator cards and labels for user logins
- Cart or trolley labeling
- Tote labelling
- Scanner-based carton labeling
Our barcoding management solution can be incorporated into purchase order receiving, landed cost tracking (LCT) receipts, pick slip release, sales order wave release, asset tracking, picking strategies, MSN checkout, and voice picking, among many other tasks. To see how you can use our barcoding solutions in your supply chain, schedule your demo today!