Smart inventory management is the need of the hour. All businesses small or big often lose sight of stock, when there is no centralized management over the inventory. By introducing a barcode inventory management system, businesses can thrive profitably by improving stock accuracy, and efficiency and by streamlining all inventory processes on hand.
A barcode inventory system is a software used to track inventory levels, product locations, and product information. A simple barcoding inventory software helps businesses to track inventory in real-time, aiding them to make better decisions about inventory levels and product availability.
Barcodes can also be used to track expiration dates and lot numbers.
What Are Barcodes?
Barcodes are machine-readable representations of data that are used to store information about finished products and sometimes semi-finished goods. Barcodes are typically printed on labels that are affixed to products, and they are scanned by barcode scanners when the products are sold or shipped.
Today, there are two main types of barcodes used widely, linear barcodes and two-dimensional (2D) barcodes.
Linear barcodes, also called one-dimensional (1D) barcodes, are the most common type of barcodes. They are printed as a series of dark and light bars of varying widths, and they can be read by scanning them from left to right. Linear barcodes are used to store information such as product names, prices, and stock numbers.
Due to these features, linear barcodes are mainly leveraged by large retail sectors and are used on consumer products.
Two-dimensional (2D) barcodes
2D barcodes are printed as a series of square dots, and they can be read by scanning them in any direction. 2D barcodes are used to store more complex information such as product images, website URLs, and contact information. in different industries, from government processes to postal delivery to factory work.
2D backgrounds are generally used in the transport industry, factory work, retail, government, postal delivery work and similar.
Various types of barcodes contain a Stock-Keeping Unit (SKU) or a Universal Product Code (UPC). Although these terms are used interchangeably, there are key differences between both. Let’s understand what they mean, in the next section.
Difference Between SKU and UPC
An SKU or Stock-Keeping Unit is a code that uniquely identifies a product in a company's inventory. Whereas, a UPC or Universal Product Code is a code that uniquely identifies a product across all retailers.
SKUs are typically assigned by the company that manufactures the product, while UPCs are assigned by the retailer. Here’s a list of key differences between these codes:
|SKUs are assigned by the manufacturing company.||UPCs are assigned by the retailer.|
|It’s a custom alphanumeric code assigned to each product by the manufacturer.||It’s a constant and universally unique 12-digit numerical code.|
|SKUs are used to track inventory within a company.||UPCs are used to track inventory across all retailers.|
|When a product is first created, the manufacturing company will assign an SKU. This SKU will be used internally by the company to track inventory and orders.||When the product is sold to a retailer, the retailer will assign a UPC to the product. The UPC is used to track inventory across all retailers.|
Why Should You Use Barcodes?
With a business growing rapidly, every consumer demands quick solutions and insights into their orders. And with manual intervention, responding timely to every query becomes a difficult task.
Hence, to keep up with the demand, a digitalized barcode inventory system can help to reduce time consumed in stock management, and use it in more productive activities.
Barcodes are an efficient method of categorizing and maintaining inventory to enhance inventory tracking and thereby lower costs.
Using barcodes also minimizes the possibility of human errors. Entering data manually often leads to a higher rate of errors when compared to using automated barcodes. On the other hand, a barcode scanner is fast and reliable, and also consumes less time while minimizing redundancies of manual data entry.
Besides, using a barcode system cuts down on employee training time by automating several steps within the inventory workflow. Moreover, trusting manual operations for inventory control carries a high risk as humans are prone to miscalculations and confusion.
Every business requires information to maintain their inventory and get a clear picture of end-to-end operations. A barcode tracking inventory system enables businesses to solve potential stock problems with ease.
How Does Barcode Inventory System Work?
Before understanding how to implement a barcode inventory management system with a barcode integrated inventory tool, businesses should consider all the use cases carefully. Only then should they proceed to adopt them in their business operations. However, unlike other complex systems, the barcode inventory system is simpler to use and adapts easily to the current working environment of a manufacturing business.
Using a barcode inventory system includes two basic fundamentals:
- Printing and attaching barcodes on every stock item or inventory product.
- Deploying barcode scanners integrated with software solutions.
Whenever a barcode scanner scans the barcode printed on any stock or inventory item, the system stores information about the object. This includes data about the place, time of scanning, price of the product, quantity in batch, and other similar features.
Later, this information can be used to track products and see where they are placed and at what time.
Adopting even a simple barcode inventory system reduces the chances of your inventory getting misplaced or lost. And no matter the number of products, or any information required; the automated barcode inventory system provides the required data within minutes.
Simple barcode inventory control systems are used across manufacturing businesses, warehouses and retail stores. They can be used to track inventory levels, to track items that have been sold, and also to keep track of where inventory is located for faster production processes.
Moreover, barcode inventory systems can be used to generate sales and inventory reports as well.
Benefits of Barcode Inventory System
There are numerous advantages of barcode inventory systems, some of them are as follows:
1. Increased accuracy: Barcodes can help to reduce errors in inventory data, as items can be scanned directly into the system rather than its details being entered manually.
2. Improved efficiency: Barcodes can speed up the inventory process, as items can be scanned quickly and easily.
3. Reduced costs: Barcodes can save money for businesses by saving tracking time, reducing the need for manual data entry and by helping to avoid stock-outs.
4. Greater visibility: Further, barcodes can help businesses to track inventory levels across multiple locations, and to gain insights on which items are selling well and which are not.
5. Improved customer service: Barcodes can help businesses to keep track of customer orders and to ensure that items are in stock when they are needed.
How To Start Using A Barcode Inventory System?
Most businesses are using barcode inventory systems because it allows them to develop a competitive edge over other market players by pacing up order fulfillment.
Apart from tracking inventory, barcoding also helps to track the sales of products and ensure that the business is making a profit. Here are the steps to help you get started with your barcode inventory management system:
1. Decide the type of system
There are two main types of barcode inventory systems, desktop and mobile app tools. Desktop systems are best for businesses with dedicated staff members who can stay in one place. Whereas, mobile systems are ideal for staff members who are constantly on the move and require live insights.
2. Choose a barcode scanner
Once you know what type of system you need, you need to choose a barcode scanner. There are different types of scanners available such as:
Handheld barcode scanner: They contain a trigger button for switching on the light and can be used to scan products in factories for quality management and shipping purposes.
Cordless scanner: This scanner is operated by battery and is majorly used in warehouses, retail stores or office buildings.
Laser scanner: These scanners direct the laser beam over the barcode and detect signals over patterns. They are usually used in supermarkets or restaurants.
With several options of scanners available, it is important to research and find the one that best suits your business needs.
3. Purchase barcode labels
Once you have your scanner, you will need to purchase barcode labels. You can find these labels online or at a local office supply store.
4. Install the barcode inventory system
Once you have your scanner and labels, you can install the barcode inventory software in your system. This can be done with the help of professionals as they are more knowledgeable and experienced in their field.
They can also help you with customized resources required specifically for your business.
5. Train your staff
The final step is to train your staff on how to use the system. This step is important to ensure that everyone knows how to implement a barcode inventory system and that they understand the advantages of a barcoding system.
If you’re looking to accelerate this process, you can simply try TranZact’s barcode enabled inventory management system and trust them with managing your inventory seamlessly.
Why Should You Opt for TranZact’s Barcode Inventory System?
Businesses nowadays are transforming digitally to pace up operations, revenue and management skills. This also applies to manufacturing businesses as they seek enhanced automation across the production and inventory process. And that’s exactly wherein the use of the barcode inventory system is boosted.
The barcode tracking feature in TranZact helps to maintain a centralized view of the inventory and reduces time and effort needed in manual inventory tracking. This helps you to move stock across processes faster with fewer delays.
Whether you sell 50,000 products or 5,00,000 products, your success always comes down to serving clients needs accurately with the best possible timelines. A barcode system for inventory management minimizes the risk of errors, enables data-driven business decisions along with timely order deliveries.
A barcode inventory system for small business is gaining popularity nowadays as it helps in operating business more effectively and with better insights.
An intuitive barcode inventory system like TranZact can help you achieve all this and more!
FAQs on Barcode Inventory System
1. Are there any disadvantages of using a barcode inventory tracking system?
The main disadvantage of using a barcode inventory system for an SME especially, is the cost of purchasing and maintaining the equipment and software. Barcode scanners and printers can be expensive, and if they break, it can be difficult to find replacement parts. In addition, barcode labels can be damaged easily, making them difficult to read.
TranZact provides a barcode integrated inventory system that can be used with any computer or mobile device, at very affordable prices. It offers a free inventory base module that users can explore and upgrade only when they desire to.
TranZact’s automated barcode tracking, equips SME manufacturers to gain enhanced inventory overview along with several customized features for stock management.
2. How much does it cost for an inventory management system?
The cost of an inventory management system with a barcode scanner will vary depending on the specific needs of the business. However, most inventory management systems in general can cost anywhere from ₹10,000 to ₹1,00,000 or more.
3. What data can be stored in a barcode?
There is a wide range of data that can be stored in a barcode, including numbers, letters, and symbols. The amount of data that can be stored in a barcode depends on the specific barcode format that is used.
4. Which is the best barcode inventory system for small businesses?
TranZact is consistently rated as one of the top barcode integrated inventory control systems in the Indian market. It offers a comprehensive solution that includes everything from inventory management to production and order fulfillment.
Additionally, TranZact's customer support is highly rated, which can be invaluable when setting up and using a new system.
5. What are the advantages of a barcode inventory system?
Advantages of a barcoding inventory system include the following:
- Easy and safe tracking of materials
- Significant cost savings
- Greater accuracy and control
- Speeds up the stock processes in line.