• Jul
  • 27
  • 2013

Why Track Your Inventory With a Bar Code?

Bar CodeA modern warehouse shouldn’t be run by paper and pencil. More and more, warehouse operators are turning to bar code technology to manage their inventory and boost their earning. Bar code technology offers faster transaction times, reduced inventory costs, more accurate data, better customer service, lower labor costs and improved quality control.

History of the Bar Code

Barcodes were first designed in 1949 by a Philadelphia college student after overhearing a grocery store owner talk about the need for an automated information system during checkout. Originally derived from Morse code, barcodes didn’t take off until Wrigley’s chewing gum started using the now familiar Universal Product Code in the 1970s, with grocery stores and retails adopting the technology soon after.

Industries Using Bar Codes

As consumers are well aware, bar codes have many commercial, industrial and retail uses.  UPC codes are widely used to speed checkout times and manage product inventory, making it easy for retailers to serve their customers. The railroad was one of the first industries to incorporate barcodes into its operations, which resulted in greatly improving freight location tracking. In the automotive industry, bar codes are widely used in manufacturing, sales and parts distribution. Warehousing of all kinds rely on bar codes for inventory management, saving time and money with more efficient tracking and distribution.

Benefits of a Bar Coded Warehouse

Using bar code technology to manage a warehouse’s inventory will greatly improve accuracy and productivity by putting timely and accurate information at employee’s fingertips. There’s less paperwork, less time searching and more actionable information about the warehouse’s inventory.  Costs are reduced because orders are fulfilled quicker. With more up-to-date information about inventory levels, warehouse managers don’t need to keep as much safety stock on hand. Plus, less staff will be needed for counts and audits.

What’s in a Bar Coded Warehouse

The technology that supports a bar-coded warehouse has many elements. Maintaining an accurate and thorough database of the warehouse’s inventory is vital. Barcode scanners, location tags, item labels and skid flags make it easy and fast for employees to find and manage inventory. Computer software then connects this information together and gives users the ability to monitor, manage and analyze the operations of the warehouse.

The Setup Process

The process of setting up a bar coded warehouse begins with labeling the locations and then each items. Using this information, the inventory management process is established.  A physical count is taken to insure accuracy and finally audits are conducted to analyze performance and find ways to improve efficiency.

Return on Investment

The profits from using bar code technology to manage warehouse inventory can be significant and will only grow over time. The efficiency helps manage staff hours, leading to less overtime. The quicker response times for orders and shipments can impress clients and help win new clients. It will also boost the confidence of warehouse staff in their ability to fulfill orders. Plus, many warehouses are adopting bar code technology, and without matching the improved speed and efficiency of your competitors, your service may not be able to keep up.