Guide To Using Barcodes Effectively With Your Stock

29 Jan 2021 No Comments Comparisons, featured posts, Warehouse Management

Guide To Using Barcodes Effectively With Your Stock

Below is a guide consisting of nine helpful tips to ensure that you are maximising the efficiency of your warehouse by using barcodes as effectively as possible with your stock…

1. What type and style of barcode should I use? 

If you supply products to retailers then you may need to register with GS1 (formerly the European Article Numbering Association). GS1 is a barcode regulator and use both UPC and EAN barcodes. If you are setting up barcodes for your own internal use only, then maybe Code39 (Free3of9) may be suitable.

2. Should I use one or two barcodes for my products?

If you have products with serial or lot number tracking you should consider whether to have one barcode which incorporates both the product and the serial/lot number, or have two separate barcodes, one for the product and one for the serial/lot number. If it works for you, it can save time to incorporate both into one barcode.

3. Should I use my supplier’s barcode?

If your bought-in products and materials are already barcoded then it makes sense to use this barcode because it saves you time and money on labelling. It also means that you can instantly receive these products more easily at Goods In.

4. Can I share barcodes between products?

No. Having decided on the type and style of barcode you are going to use, compile a list of all the products you want to be barcoded with their different units of measure.  Remember if the product does not already have a barcode you will need a unique barcode for each product including all combinations of size, colour, style and unit of measure.

5. How do I add barcode information to my product details?

Most ERP solutions provide a method of updating your product details with barcode information.  In Greentree, we can add the barcode details using the Options form in Inventory Item Maintenance.  For instance, where a product is sold both individually (Each) and in outers a box of 20, a different barcode will be needed for each unit of measure.

6. Do I have to label my current stock?

Yes.  Assuming your products do not already have a barcode, you will need to print a barcode label and attach it to all your current stock OR print labels for your stock locations.  Most ERP solutions can help with printing the required labels.  In some instances, it is not practical to label products because they are either too small or not label-friendly, in which case we recommend labelling the stock location i.e. bin, shelf or rack.

7. How do I print barcode labels for new products and deliveries?

Having labelled all the current stock we must make sure all products are labelled when they come into the business.  Most ERP solutions can be configured to print product labels including the barcode during the “Goods in” recording process.  Everything should be properly labelled before it is put away in the stores or warehouse.

8. What equipment do I need?

The equipment requirements will depend on your business processes and the application software in use.  For a minimal cost you can install a Bluetooth or USB point-of-sale barcode scanner with a label printer, however, for more comprehensive sales order picking or purchase order goods receiving solutions more expensive mobile computers, smartphones or tablets may be necessary.

9. Why should I use barcodes in my business?

Although it will have taken some considerable effort to set up barcodes and label your stock, it will be well worth it.  Typical results from using a mobile barcode scanning system include:

  • Many more transactions processed in the same amount of time equals improved performance. For example, a higher “Deliveries On Time and In Full” (DOTIF) percentage
  • Elimination of annoying and costly human errors
  • Reduced staff training requirements
  • Improved accuracy of stock control information resulting in long term cost savings and better cash flow management
  • Improved customer service levels yield better supplier ratings and more business in the future

If your warehouse is quieter than usual at the moment due to the on-going effects of the pandemic, it really could be a great opportunity to introduce/improve your barcoding and Warehouse Management System (WMS) so that you’re ready to bounce back as soon as things return to normality. 

If you have any questions regarding barcoding, Warehouse Management Systems or anything else related to these topics, feel free to get in touch with us directly on 01767 677071 or via the contact form below.

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