Friday, 12 May 2017

Does Your Business Need A Barcode Warehouse Management System?

By Susan Bailey

Barcodes are widely used in the retail environment to improve the checkout process for customers. That said, most businesses haven't fully embraced the technology. Many potential areas of application remain unexplored in all but the most tech-savvy retail outlets, especially when it comes to the back end of inventory operations. But how could a barcode warehouse management system benefit your own organization?

In most warehouses, you'll find barcode labels on almost all products. And this is something you could take advantage of; using the tags to track and monitor your shipments will ultimately enhance accountability within your supply chain. Furthermore, linking your database to a suitable online portal will allow you to extend your monitoring capabilities right down to the consumer. At the very least, barcodes could help you reduce overheads related to inventory.

Not only is manually keying in data a painfully cumbersome task, but errors are also quite common. And this is the last thing anyone needs in their logistics operations, where items change hands multiple times. With a barcode system, you can significantly reduce the burden for your staff, while also improving accuracy in record keeping.

Although managing data within a small logistics ecosystem doesn't present many challenges, complications tend to arise when inventory levels swell up. The best way to improve the entire management process is to incorporate barcoding in your warehouse environment. Besides reducing the amount of time it takes to register packages, you could also use the system to ring up several items at once. Depending on how sophisticated your system is, package information could even be fetched while items are travelling down conveyor belts.

Gone are the days when barcode technology carried a steep price tag. Thanks to the availability of affordable equipment and the proliferation of the technology, barcodes can now be used by almost any organization. Your accounting operations will also become much easier, since fetching data and relaying it to your head office will take less time and effort. And this is something most business owners will appreciate, especially during tax season.

Although barcoding can rapidly improve inventory processing, choosing the right system and implementing it properly is crucial in ensuring you reap the benefits. So before you can start comparing your options, first define your company's requirements, and determine the kind of functionality you want your system to have. Figure out which areas will be affected by the new systems, and check whether your existing warehouse management tools can be integrated with the former.

The kind of support you'll be getting from your hardware vendor will determine how well you're able to utilize your newly-acquired system. So make sure you ask about this when interviewing different providers, and whether they'll upgrade your tools to keep abreast with upcoming developments. If you're not sure of how to go about the implementation process, you could hire a consultant to make matters easier.

Your warehouse is one of the most critical components of your logistics network. With the right barcoding system, you could practically make it more accurate, efficient and agile. So don't take too much time trying to figure the details out; start looking for a platform that will fit the needs of your distribution center today.

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