Why You Need an Inventory Barcode System

Male and female workers wearing hardhats and reflective jackets checking inventory boxes with barcode scanner in warehouse

If you’re a small business owner, you may think an inventory barcode system is too advanced for your business. Perhaps you maintain only a small inventory or you’re currently keeping track of stock by hand. Adding an inventory barcode system seems out of reach for your company until you attain a certain size. Right?

Wrong. An inventory barcode system is more important for a small business than ever before. If you’re still taking inventory by hand using a clipboard, paper, and pencil, the following reasons why you need an inventory barcode system should convince you to make the switch to a faster, more modern method of inventory management.

Three Reasons Small Businesses Need an Inventory Barcode System

An inventory barcode system enables the tracking and management of inventory using barcodes. Ubiquitous for the past 40-50 years, barcodes and the software needed to scan them have come down in price and improved in usability to make them within reach of almost every small business. Here are three reasons why your business needs an inventory barcode system.

  1. Speed

New inventory barcode systems load the barcode reading software right onto smartphones or tablets. The motion needed to scan a barcode is the same as scanning a QR code or taking a photograph. Scan, swipe, and you’re done. The information is automatically entered into the system and the stock counted.

Manual stock-taking methods typically require two people, one to count off the inventory and the second to write it down. In some companies, a third person or team double-checks the initial count. Then, the notes are handed off to someone to type into the system. It’s slow, labor intensive, and requires closing an area of the stockroom or worse yet, shop floor, until the inventory is complete.

New, modern inventory barcode scanners cut the time it takes to take inventory down to mere seconds. Almost simultaneously, the information is shared with the central database, keeping everyone updated on the stock status. It’s a system that customers expect, too, since many rely on information pushed from inventory systems to websites to know whether materials are available.

  1. Saves money

Not only is scanning an inventory barcode faster, but it saves a great deal of money, too.

In the manual stock-taking example above, up to four people (two teams of two people each) was needed to take inventory (team one) and check the stock count (team two). Add to that the personnel required to type the entries into the system, and that’s five hourly salaries multiplied by the time it takes to take inventory. Inventory control for small businesses can take hours, especially if you have many SKUs.

Now reduce that team to one person scanning barcodes, and you’ve just drastically reduced workforce costs. Investing in barcode scanning software not only improves inventory speed and efficiency, but it also saves money, too.

  1. Better accuracy

We mentioned the two-team approach because it was standard many years ago for all sizes of business. Even a single two-person team, however, might be a luxury for some small business owners. In that case, a single person counting items in a stock room may be all that stands between not knowing your inventory and having at least some glimpse into the inventory count.

But therein lies the problem. One person can make a simple error or two that quickly adds up into costly mistakes. Now add at least one other person required in the mix—the person needed to type the entries into the computer. Even the most meticulous data entry clerk can make a mistake. And these mistakes add up.

With inventory barcodes, most mistakes are eliminated. There’s no data entry needed, so that removes one possible point in which mistakes can be entered into the system. And swiping a barcode is faster than taking a manual scratch count. Inventory barcode systems drastically improve accuracy.

Every business wants to save money and time, as well as minimize mistakes. With the right inventory barcode system, you get all three, and more. It’s an investment into your business that pays for itself very quickly.


Emerald TC can help you choose the right ERP system for your needs. Contact us or call 678-456-6919 for more information.

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