Analysis Paralysis: Getting Started with a Barcode Inventory System

If you’ve been putting off your barcode inventory system because the process just seems too overwhelming, stop. Now is the time to do it, and there is incredible software out there that will make it super-easy.

Take A Physical Count Of Your Inventory

This is the first and most important step. When you calculate your inventory’s value later, you’re going to be working off from the last physical count you did – regardless of whether you use the gross profit method or the retail inventory method.

So, get a good physical count of everything in your warehouse of stock room. Make sure you get quantities, types, and a good description. If possible, note the zone or location in the warehouse where everything is located. This will be useful later on and will save you oodles of time when you input the information into your software.

Get Good Software

Speaking of software, spend money on it. In many ways, your ability to manage inventory is determined by the quality of your software. Good inventory management software, like the type offered by EMS Barcode Solutions for example, will last you years. Get software that’s capable of tracking every piece of inventory in your company, that can tag zones or areas to inventory, and that makes reconciliation with your sales and marketing software simple.


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Good reconciliation helps you find holes in your inventory management, by cluing you in to mismatches between sales figures and inventory levels. They need to balance and, when they don’t, you know there’s an error.

Either, a vendor did not give you what you paid for, an employee is stealing from you, a customer is stealing from you, or there’s an internal error in your accounting.

Put Barcodes On Everything

Put barcodes on all merchandise. You have a few choices based on your needs. First, you can choose to use a direct thermal printer. Direct thermal printers require the use of heat-activated thermal papers and film but does not need a transfer ribbon. The print color is black only unless you’re using special print paper.

Over time, these types of printers aren’t as good a deal for many businesses because the labels will darken, especially when the surface is scratched or subjected to heat or light. Direct thermal printing is popular in food service, since most items are stored out of heat and direct sunlight. The shelf-life of a printer label is about a year or less, which also makes it ideal for that industry.

Finally, they’re a low-cost way to print labels.

Most companies, however, prefer thermal transfer printers because they use a transfer ribbon and can print onto almost any surface. The also last much longer than direct transfer printers so you don’t have to worry about longevity of your printed materials or the printer itself.

Of course, all of this quality costs. Thermal transfer is much more expensive, both in the initial costs and maintenance.

Max Gardiner works at a large warehouse stockroom. He loves sharing his experiences and insights on the internet. You can find his posts mainly on business and industrial management blogs.


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Osho is Tech blogger. He contributes to the Blogging, Gadgets, Social Media and Tech News section on TecheHow.