Use of barcode technology has grown dramatically over the last several years … and for good reason. Once a luxury available only to large companies with equally large IT budgets, today’s widespread adoption of barcode technology has lead to lowered costs and a wider range of choices available to small and mid-sized businesses.
Let’s explore why barcode technology has become so important.
Humans Make Mistakes – Barcodes Don’t
Barcodes provide a fast, accurate, and automated way of collecting inventory data (picking, packing, shipping, receiving, etc.) using a handheld scanner, then easily transferring that information to your core ERP system like Sage 300. If you’ve been managing this process manually, you’ll really appreciate the benefits of eliminating duplicate data entry and extra keystrokes, reducing labor costs, and eliminating errors.
While a barcode scanner can collect and record inventory data at amazing speeds, the error rate is only about 1 in 3 million. This level of accuracy can have far reaching affects on your warehouse and business. In fact, one of the most important reasons that companies adopt barcode technology is to reduce the cost of human errors – like mistyped item numbers and returned inventory – that become more common as a business grows.
Work Smarter & More Efficiently
Have you ever found yourself or your staff wandering around the warehouse looking for inventory that you know is out there somewhere but you can’t seem to find it? Maybe someone filled an order earlier in the day but forgot to enter it in the system. Or maybe it was moved to another area but never recorded.
With barcode technology, a handheld scanner will guide your warehouse personnel with precise instructions as to which aisles and bins hold which products. As the item is picked, it’s simply scanned and then sent to your Sage 300 inventory module which is instantly updated. What’s more, some systems can even transmit specific picking and routing instructions to the handheld device to prevent multiple trips to the same area of the warehouse for better efficiency.
Reduce Inventory Adjustments and Write-Offs
Consider the example of a customer that receives an over shipment, under shipment, or just the wrong order due to a data entry error. You’re now in a position where you incur additional shipping costs for the returned items as well as labor costs to process the return and re-process the correct order. Not to mention the “soft” cost of a potentially unhappy customer.
By all accounts, companies that have implemented barcode technology have significantly reduced or completely eliminated these situations.
Faster and More Accurate Physical Counts
In addition to faster and more accurate order processing and shipping, barcodes can also take the pain out of those tedious and dreaded year-end physical inventory counts. That’s because with barcodes, it’s much easier to implement an inventory cycle counting process where you count a small amount of inventory more regularly (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc) throughout the year. Cycle counts are the best way to keep inventory accurate and up to date, reduce carrying costs, and eliminate huge year-end write-offs.
In short, what was once a dreaded annual exercise performed manually with pen and paper can be transformed into a process that’s fast and accurate using handheld mobile scanners.
Other Barcode Benefits
While reducing errors and labor costs are the primary reasons that barcode technology has become so important, here are some other benefits to consider:
- Reduced Employee Training – it only takes minutes to master a handheld scanner and new employees don’t need to become familiar with an entire inventory or pricing scheme in order to start contributing in the warehouse right away.
- Versatility – beyond just inventory, barcodes can be used to collect a variety of data such as manufacturing (materials, labor, etc), fixed assets and equipment, employee badges for payroll, and much more.
- Better Decision-Making – with inventory data collected and updated to your ERP system in real-time, you can make faster and more informed decisions and even keep less inventory on-hand.
- Customer Satisfaction – by improving efficiency, you’ll get product shipped to your customers faster. And by eliminating errors, you’ll process fewer returns while keeping customers happy and coming back for more.
One Size Does Not Fit All
As we mentioned earlier, there are a variety of bar code solutions that are now affordable for small and mid-sized companies. After all, some businesses have more SKUs, more volume, and more complex lot or serialized inventory tracking requirements, while others have a more simple operation and just need basic functionality for better speed and accuracy.
Whatever the case for you, one size does not fit all.
From very simple barcode readers to a highly sophisticated warehouse management system (WMS), we can introduce you to a variety of options that allow you to choose how much automation and accuracy provides the right fit for your business.
Contact us to learn more about the integrated barcode solutions that we implement for customers already using Sage 300 (Accpac) software.