What is barcode inventory software?
Barcode inventory software is a type of program that uses barcodes to track inventory levels, locations and other data. This software can be used to track inventory in a variety of settings, including retail stores, warehouses and manufacturing facilities.
6 Benefits of Using a Barcode Inventory Software System for Your Stocktake
What is Barcode Inventory?
Barcodes are distinctive alpha-numeric codes printed on product labels or directly on the surface of a product, that digitally store data. Barcode-based inventory management involves using devices called barcode scanners or barcode readers to break down the encoded inventory data and present it in an easily digestible form.
Barcode scanners significantly increase the efficiency and accuracy of inventory management and enhance the potential of cloud-based software systems. The unlocked data is shared with the help of either a corded connection, or wirelessly, and displayed on the computer/mobile screen in comprehensible text form.
Barcode-based inventory is easy to manage and huge amounts of information such as product type, manufacturing and expiry dates, product price, manufacturer name, product weight, etc. can be compressed in a very small space. Barcode scanning assists in the meticulous recording and updating of the minutest product details in real time so that each and every item is accounted for and a business is never in the dark about what is depleting, what to reorder, and so on.
Barcode scanners can be linked effortlessly with cloud-based inventory management apps, allowing bar and restaurant owners to view stock levels even when they are away from the business site. Data can be viewed at any time just by glancing at their mobile screens, and inventory updates can be accessed in real time.
One dimensional (1D) barcodes, consisting of vertical black and white lines, is the most prevalent inventory barcode system. Product details can be read by barcode scanners from the space between the black and white lines. These barcodes, however, contain a smaller amount of information than two dimensional or 2D barcodes.
2D barcodes manifest themselves as squares, dots, and other patterns and accommodate a massive amount of information within the limited space of a product barcode label. The best example of a 2D barcode is perhaps the QR code, which is used by customers of food and beverage businesses to access menu cards and make payments online.
Unlocking inventory information through barcode scanning is extremely helpful also for warehouse management, inventory tracking, asset tracking -- indeed at every stage of the supply chain.
Components of a Barcode Inventory System- Harware
A barcode inventory system includes hardware and inventory software. Let's look at the hardware first.
Barcode inventory management hardware includes barcodes, printers, computer terminals, and mobile devices, in addition to barcode scanners.
Barcodes are essentially 8 to 12 numeric or alphanumeric characters, separated by black bars over a white background. They may also take the form of QR codes that carry elaborate patterns, including squares and dots. These codes contain detailed product information.
A printer is used to produce barcode labels. These labels are then pasted on products.
The scanner uses LED light to scan a barcode. The light thrown on the barcode by the illumination system of the scanner is reflected back and is detected by the scanner sensor. The sensor then generates an analog signal that is sent to the scanner's decoder. The decoder makes sense of the signal and changes the encoded data into matching text.
The barcode scanner may be connected to the computer/mobile with a wire or without a wire. USB barcode scanners may link with a desktop/laptop directly via a USB port.
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Components of a Barcode Inventory System- Software
The product information deciphered through barcode scanning is transferred to the inventory software residing in computers/mobiles and presented on the screen in a textual form that users have no difficulty understanding.
Barcode-based inventory management systems are best cloud-based. A cloud-based software works through inventory and barcode scanning apps. Some of these apps don't even need a barcode scanner to take inventory. All you need to do is simply open the app on your smartphone or tablet, point the camera at the barcode, and scan. The scanned data can then be viewed on your mobile screen.
A sophisticated software ensures that all the product details are available at your fingertips. You need minimal hardware support and can monitor inventory in real time from anywhere. This advanced inventory management system does away with the drawbacks of manual inventory methods that involve spreadsheets or legacy software.
Benefits of a Barcode Inventory System- No. 1 - Ease of Use
Software solutions simplify and streamline stock-taking. The efficiency and effectiveness of an inventory management system can be improved substantially with barcode scanners.
Unlike manual and spreadsheet methods, stock-taking can be done with barcode scanners in a completely hassle-free way. It is laborious to manually key in the SKU number or stock-keeping unit number of each product in the inventory. Spreadsheets require manual inputs as well.
On the other side, barcode scanning is a faster, tidier, more precise, and hence a smarter approach for measuring stock levels. Unique barcode labels can be created for various items in the inventory, extra information may be added, and information can be retrieved easily with a scan.
A simple, single barcode scan is all it takes to view stock levels. Business owners can see the updates in real time even if they are not in office. Wireless barcode scanners, in this regard, make inventory management extremely easy by enabling remote communication with nodal computers or handheld devices. They typically operate on Bluetooth and can communicate with a range of Bluetooth-enabled devices.
If SKU numbers are already in use, installing a barcode inventory system is pretty straightforward. Barcoding every item in the inventory, however, could take time, but it is a process worth undertaking.
Benefits of a Barcode Inventory System- No. 2 - Cost-effectiveness
Stocks can be managed and monitored effectively, and mispicks can be largely eliminated with the help of an inventory management system that is supported by a barcode scanner. This ultimately results in significant savings for the business, and hence, aids in Cost Management.
Barcode labels offer automatic product identification, and are not at all costly. Moreover, by minimizing the work and time needed for employee training, overhead expenses can be decreased as well.
Barcode scanners also pinpoint accurate stock levels, helping to prevent overbuying and overstocking. This keeps storage expenses under control. To avoid losing money to stockouts, you can choose what, how much, and when to buy. This helps in Inventory Optimization as well to determine the exact amount of stocks to effectively fulfill current and future demands.
Accurate inventory-related information enables business leaders to make proper decisions on inventory cost reductions while reporting taxable earnings.
Barcode scanners also eliminate the need for additional staff to cover busy hours or days, helping food and beverage businesses cut labor expenses.
The operational efficiency and effectiveness offered by a bar and restaurant management system supported by barcode scanners ensure that businesses can withstand periods of heavy traffic without much trouble.
The cost saved in this manner is far greater than the expense of establishing a barcode-based inventory management system.
Benefits of a Barcode Inventory System- No. 3 - Accuracy
Accuracy is a key advantage offered by barcoding. Inadvertent errors can occur when product information is manually typed into spreadsheets or written by hand on paper. Even the tiniest error can have a huge, negative impact on an organization by causing delays in shipment, overstocking, understocking, and orders being missed.
Employees manually choosing items to be offered to customers may make errors. For example, a customer orders a box of apple juice for home delivery and receives a packet of milk instead. The frustrated customer may cancel the order and seek a refund or replacement. This makes the entire process extremely complicated and wastes everyone's time and can cost the business its reputation.
Prickly situations like this can be avoided by employees using a barcode scanner to verify that the appropriate item is being picked. The computer terminal/mobile linked to the barcode scanner would show exactly what is selected.
Benefits of a Barcode Inventory System- No. 4 - Improved Tracking
Untidy stock records and disorganized storage make it terribly challenging to locate and select items to be produced and delivered. It may appear that supplies have run out, when in fact there are still some stashed away in a forgotten part of the storeroom. When they're finally discovered, such items may have to be discarded if they've exceeded their shelf-life.
Barcoding makes sure products are properly stored so that they can be conveniently located and orders may be placed based on precisely measured stock levels. This, therefore, makes order management efficient and cost-effective.
Inventory barcode scanning also guarantees better product quality control and ensures that spoilage, theft, and pest infestation are minimized.
Benefits of a Barcode Inventory System- No. 5 - Real-time Visibility
Sophisticated inventory management software that integrates with barcode scanners enables firms to track their inventory in real time and provides users with total visibility over every item and inventory detail, including when the product was produced, purchased, transported, and sold.
This is especially helpful for businesses with complicated and varied inventory requirements. These companies frequently lack complete visibility into their inventory.
A cloud-based inventory system supported by barcode scanners makes the full inventory information available to business owners accurately, quickly, and in real time, thereby enabling prudent purchase order decisions.
Business owners can track stocks in their stores even when they are not at the store, and view stock levels whenever they need to. They can, therefore, manage their companies remotely and ensure that employees don't slack off.
Benefits of a Barcode Inventory System- No. 6 - Time Management
Inventory management takes less time with a barcode-enabled solution. Employees would be forced to count inventory by hand, record inventory levels on spreadsheets or paper, and search for products physically in a storehouse in the absence of an automated inventory management system.
This could result in delayed orders, or even incorrect items delivered, which would then add to the delay. Inventory management and data auditing become extremely time-consuming, and laborious exercises.
Furthermore, employee morale suffers when values have to be entered endlessly in columns and rows. Barcode scanning, however, automates key processes, which can otherwise take up a lot of time managing. This makes the business efficient and profitable.