Using Barcode Inventory System helps maintain accurate stock counts and provides critical information for inventory management KPIs. Barcode inventory fundamentals and how to implement your own system are covered in the Seminar. I had no trouble pouring beer at my part-time job in the taproom of a craft brewery. Yet it always made me uncomfortable when customers enquired about available sizes and designs of brewery t-shirts.
The owners’ “system” for keeping track of what they had in stock consisted of us frantically rushing to a back room and rummaging through plastic bins with illegible labels. With a barcode inventory system, we might have avoided that problem and perhaps sold more merchandise as a result. We’ll go through the fundamentals of barcodes and how to create your own system so you can evaluate whether or not it would be useful for your small business.
What are barcodes?
The lines and spaces of a barcode allow for its interpretation by digital scanners. Although UPCs were first introduced in 1951, it wasn’t until supermarkets began automating their checkout processes that they saw broad use (UPCs). The goods and its maker are both uniquely identifiable by a UPC barcode. A Universal Product Code (UPC) is a type of one-dimensional barcode in which information is stored by varying the width and spacing of parallel lines. A two-dimensional barcode is a square or rectangle array of dots that can hold far more data than a one-dimensional barcode like a QR code.
From Bookland EAN-13 barcodes, which encode product, publisher, and pricing information on the back of a book, to single-use barcodes containing shipping information, there are over 30 main barcodes in use today. When it comes to inventory management, universal product codes (UPCs) and stock keeping unit (SKU) barcodes are almost interchangeable.In a barcode inventory system, barcode IDs are generated at the time of product delivery, attached to individual goods, and scanned at the point of sale (POS) system whenever a product is sold or returned.
Unlike UPCs, which only record the product name and manufacturer, custom SKUs can also keep track of the store, department, item category, size, and color in which the product is kept.
How to design a barcode inventory system
Using barcodes instead of a periodic inventory system allows for perpetual inventory counts, which is only one of the many advantages of switching to this method. You’ll have additional information at your disposal for inventory control tasks including establishing safety stock levels, defining reorder points, and establishing economic order quantities (EOQ). To get the most out of your barcode inventory system, you should first determine your goals and evaluate your software and hardware options before printing barcodes and affixing them to items.
Priorities for the Stockroom Indeed, Barcode Inventory System tells you exactly what you have and don’t have at any given time. But, depending on your requirements, it can also help with things like preventing theft, expediting the fulfillment of orders, and keeping a FIFO (first-in, first-out) accounting system.
Programs if you own a store, you can probably generate barcodes with your point-of-sale software. It may be worth it to invest in barcode software tailored to your inventory if you deal with a high volume of items, have various storage facilities, or are a logistics service provider.
The third consideration is the barcode hardware itself. Is a stationary flatbed scanner better for your inventory needs, or do you want portable options instead? What number of barcode types can you scan? Under what kind of conditions will your scanners operate?
Making a barcode inventory system for a small company
Preparation is the key to an effective barcode implementation for inventory management. Never want to be stuck with a system that needs regular tweaking. These are the measures you should take to design a barcode system that will serve your immediate needs and expand with your inventory management requirements.
Standardize on barcodes by determining what is expected in the industry.
Your products already have SKU barcodes, which you may utilize for internal stock tracking if you choose. The barcode you use for business-to-business (B2B) transactions must be in keeping with accepted practices.
Barcodes used in certain industries include:
- Code 39: Transportation and security
- Bookland Definition of EAN-13: Book Publishing
- Classification 128: Managing a company’s supply chain
- A Codabar for Healthcare and Logistics
- Electonics, bureaucracy, and commerce: a data matrix
- The required size of your barcode should also influence your decision. Smaller objects can have Data Matrix barcodes applied to them, whereas bigger things need Code 39 barcodes due to the greater amount of data they hold. QR codes and other two-dimensional barcodes have a greater data storage capacity than traditional UPC barcodes.
The Role of Barcodes in the Modern World
Because the term “inventory” may refer to a wide range of assets, including those you’ve created yourself, those you’ve purchased for resale, and those you’ve purchased for internal use, it’s important to define the roles that barcodes will play in tracking your inventory.
Classifications of inventory functions include:
- Primitive Resources
- Product completion
- Buy and resell
- Material for packaging
- Supply items for upkeep and operation
- An asset to your bookkeeping is properly labeled inventory according to function. Depreciation may be calculated with the aid of detailed records of fixed assets like as cars, office furniture, hardware, and software, and the cost of goods sold (COGS) can be determined with the help of records of raw materials used in the production process.
Choose out the Barcode Specifics
The next step is to select the data that will be contained in the barcodes. The barcode you need to employ is determined by the quantity of data you wish to encode in addition to any specific standards in your field.The retail price is not embedded since it may change over time; instead, it is calculated automatically by the point-of-sale system when the item is scanned.
Examples of helpful data are:
- Labeling and explanation of goods
- Adjustments in dimensions or hue
- Category of Goods
- Price paid
- Detailed description of the vendor’s warehouse or store
- When compared to the two thousand characters that may be encoded by a Data Matrix barcode, a one dimensional barcode stores at most one hundred. A two-dimensional barcode’s design becomes increasingly intricate the more information it encodes. Use no more than 800 characters to improve scanning speed and precision.
Choose the hardware and software
Creating SKU barcodes with your point-of-sale system shouldn’t be an issue if you’re using it to keep track of inventory data. Be sure your barcode software is compatible with your point-of-sale and/or accounting system if you plan on using more complex barcodes (ROI).There is a wide range of sizes and costs for barcode scanners. One-dimensional portable scanners may be found for about $25, while a flatbed barcode scanner would set you back over $1,000. The scanning environment, including the available light, air quality, and barcodes, also plays a role in your decision.
There are essentially three types of barcode readers, and they are:
- Wireless: handheld scanners with instantaneous data transmission to your warehousing software
- Moveable assemblage: Saves scanned documents for later retrieval
- Stationary hardware includes things like scanners that sit on a flat surface, such at a supermarket checkout.
- Free barcode scanner apps are available for download on mobile devices. You can use them for a quick barcode lookup, but you shouldn’t rely on them solely in professional situations.
Adopt barcode-based stock-taking practices
For reliable records, always follow established protocols while taking stock. The computer science adage “Garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO) may be applied to inventory management.
Some examples of how to use barcodes effectively in inventory are:
- Specify barcode dimensions and positioning. Barcode scanning efficiency is maximized when barcodes are consistently sized and placed on items, boxes, and pallets.
Define inventory-related key performance indicators (KPIs): Key performance indicators (KPIs) for inventory management include stock-to-sales ratios, sell-through rates, safety stock levels, and more.
Teaching workers: Barcode inventory education should focus on more than just teaching people how to utilize the system. Consistent, reliable outcomes can only be achieved if all parties involved are on the same page.
Scan stock-keeping units (SKUs) at every sale to keep tabs on stock levels, especially if you have a lot of items to track and store in several locations. Preparation is the key to successful barcode inventory management.
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