Improving Your Inventory Management with Barcodes
Every business that handles inventory requires an effective inventory management system, and barcodes have long been the foundation of the most effective, comprehensive, and reliable methods for managing inventory on a small or massive scale.
The use of barcodes to manage your inventory has many benefits for small businesses, helping to:
- Track your inventory more efficiently and more accurately
- Avoid errors in your sales documents and stock adjustments
- Save time creating documents and fulfilling orders
To get the most of barcodes, it is important to understand how to create barcodes and to have a software that supports them.
How to create barcodes?
There are two scenarios:
The products you buy from your suppliers that already come with barcodes
Your products don’t come with barcodes, either because you are a craftsman / making your own products or your suppliers don't supply them. Hence, you have to create barcodes.
#1. Your products already have barcodes
You don't need to create new barcodes but simply use the existing ones for managing and selling your products. It is simple as that.
- If the barcodes are not on your products (on the products themselves or their packaging), you will simply have to create a sticker or a tag to add the barcodes to each physical product. This step is usually necessary, especially if you sell them to retailers. Click here to get the best practices for printing barcodes (placement, size, color, printing process..) or refer to the GS1 website.
If you only have the codes, you can create the barcode image using a barcode generator such as the one from TEC-IT.
- If your products are already labelled with the barcodes, simply jump to part 2: Increase your efficiency with barcodes to learn how to properly use them with your inventory and order management software.
#2. Your products don't have barcodes
In this case, you have to create your own barcodes. Keep in mind that selling products with barcodes is a must for distributors or wholesalers who deal with retailers. Retailers usually use a POS system that works with barcodes.
Barcodes are administered and sold by GS1, a not-for-profit company that maintains the global standards for barcodes.
Barcodes are made of a series of numbers. Each variant or SKU has its own barcode, a unique series of numbers. GS1 will provide a barcode for each product which remains constant throughout shelf life.
- How? Fill out GS1 Company Prefix Application on the GS1 U.S. page
- Take each code that you got from GS1 and transform it in a barcode image using a barcode generator such as the one from TEC-IT.
- Print your label on stickers or tags. You can also acquire a label printer (you'll find many on amazon such as this DYMO Label Printer)
Increase your efficiency with barcodes
Barcodes can be added to your inventory and order management system. The main advantages are avoiding human errors and improving inventory control.
How to make sure you use them correctly in your inventory and order management system?
1. Link your barcode to your products
The first step is to assign the barcode numbers to your products.
Simply go to your product card and add the series of numbers in the barcode field. It is highly recommended to use a barcode scanner to add this information, so you don't make any mistakes while typing the series of numbers. If there are any mistakes in the barcode number, the product won't be recognized when it is scanned.
1. Open a product card and edit the product or each SKU if the product comes in several variants.
2. Select the barcode field and type the series of numbers or use your barcode scanner to scan the corresponding barcode (recommended).
How to connect your barcode scanner to erplain?
1. Simply connect your barcode scanner to your device (your laptop, PC, tablet or smartphone) as you would do with any external accessories such as a keyboard or a mouse.
• If the scanner has a Bluetooth connection, make sure your Bluetooth is turned on and connect the scanner.
• If it is a wired barcode scanner, simply plug it into your device as any other USB external accessories
• If it has a WIFI connection, connect it to your device for following the scanner instructions
• For further information about connecting your barcode scanner, simply refer to the manufacturer's guide
2. Voila! You can now log in to erplain and start using barcodes in the software. Any external barcode scanner that can be connected to your device will work with erplain.
2. Create sales and purchase documents with your barcode scanner
Use your barcode scanners to add products to your sales and purchase documents. If you have your products on hand or you are speaking with a customer at a tradeshow or visiting a store to sell a new collection, you can simply scan the products the customer wants to order. You'll be sure not to make any mistakes on the references or products to add to the documents. Save time and avoid order errors as well as products returns to manage.
1. When you create an estimate, a sales orders, an invoice or a purchase order, select 'Scan barcodes' to add your products.
2. Simply scan the products you want to add. You can either type the quantity or scan the same item multiple times if you need to increase the quantity.
3. Facilitate your stock movement between locations
You likely have products in multiple locations:
• Whenever you are taking products out of your stock for a tradeshow or an event
• You have several warehouses or at least one warehouse and an office where you stock products as well
• You sell products on consignment
Having more than one location implies regularly moving stock from one place to another. If you make a mistake in the quantities or SKUs, your stock levels in all your locations will be impacted and wrong. Scanning the products as you prepare them adjusts your stock and allows to avoid mistakes.
1. Whenever you create a stock entry, a stock removal or a stock movement, choose 'Scan barcodes' to add your products.
2. Simply scan the products you are including in your stock adjustments.
Barcodes are not only a label to include on the products for the retailers. Large and small businesses will benefit from using barcodes for their inventory and order management as the use of barcodes allows them to keep more accurate track of your inventory at a much quicker pace and it eliminates human errors. A barcode is unique to a product. Hence, you cannot make any mistake in your document by scanning the product in your hand.
Start adding your barcodes in erplain! If you don't have an erplain account, start a free 14-day trial to check erplain's powerful inventory and order management features
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