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Small Business Owner’s Guide to the Inventory Barcode System

Do you want to have a better handle on inventory management?

Knowing what you have available, and which products sold out fast is important in gauging your success. It’s one of the more tedious aspects of managing businesses, even small ones.

To help you keep track of your inventory, a barcode system can help you. Today, we will look at the inventory barcode system and how you can use it for your business. These would include details to help you set up one for your small business. 

Keep reading to learn what you need to know.


What Is a Barcode?

As we look at the inventory barcode system, we need to know what a barcode is and how it functions. A barcode tends to look like a series of lines and bars, or as a sort of printed marking on a tag or sticker. These are visual representations of data that use spaces and lines.

While barcodes tend to look like a series of lines, you can read the information stored in them through the use of a visual scanner. Placing a barcode to the scanner reveals the product information. This is the case with the item and the manufacturer.

Barcodes also have components on them, making each one unique despite how similar they look. The common parts that you would notice are as follows:

  • Quiet Zone
  • Start Character
  • Data Characters
  • Stop Character
  • Quiet Zone (acting as a bookend)

With a barcode reader, the laser beam scans the data by sensing the lines and the reflections from it. It notes the spacing and then converts it into digital form. 

Types of Barcodes

Barcodes come in different types and configurations. Some would take on the conventional form that resembles a series of lines. Then you also have a variant that looks more like a mass of pixels printed on a tag.

1D Barcodes 

These barcodes take on the conventional form. They resemble a series of lines that a laser from the barcode reader can decode. You see them in various products and items.

2D Barcodes

You see this variant in use for QR codes. They comprise of square-shaped dots and patterns. When compared to 1D barcodes, these ones can hold more information. Website information also comes into play when scanning them through a scanner.

You can use your smartphone to read these types of Barcodes.

These barcode variants work out for purposes of storing the data. As for the information stored in the barcodes, these tend to vary by virtue of purpose.

For instance, there are two notable codes that work for inventory use. One of these is the universal product code (UPC), which stores information regarding the product and its manufacturer. The other is the SKU, which functions in the same intent as the UPC but it operates in a different setup.

To note, individual retailers create and use SKUs (stock-keeping units) for their stock control. They incorporate this along with their POS when selling or processing returns. 

You would usually see these in action within retail stores and boutiques. You can also see them in a lot of businesses, especially grocery stores.

There are more barcode variants that you would encounter. Each one has a specific purpose that suits the occasion. 

Why Use Barcodes?

Using barcodes for your business helps a whole lot. It helps with inventory tracking and much more. The primary reason is due to how you can keep accurate records of your products. This includes the items available and the items that checked out.

By having an accurate inventory system, you also end up with fewer losses. In this case, accurate record keeping allows you to mitigate any form of theft or loss of your items.

This also eases up another factor in a business; stocktaking. With a barcode system, you can process this aspect quickly and efficiently. 

For businesses that need barcodes for borrowing instead of purchasing, you can use them as a means to track which items are on rent. This works well in libraries and rental places.

With the right setup, the barcode system lends well to other forms of automation that would trigger when certain conditions occur. For instance, when someone forgets to return the product or if ever someone runs late with the return, the system can start fining the users after issuing reminders about the matter. 

Getting Started With Barcodes

There are things to consider when you start using barcodes. First, look at what you have in your business and note how many barcodes you need for this venture.

This also includes the barcode format. After all, this would factor in the software and hardware that you plan to use.

For Hardware, this includes the barcode printer and the scanners. Depending on whichever you picked, some barcode printers would also include software for generating barcodes. This lets you work out your inventory system.

For the scanners, the barcode you picked should dictate the type that you need. For instance, a 1D barcode works great with a scanner designed for it. The same with 2D barcodes, as those, hold more information and would require a different scanner or reader to decipher the information.

With Software, you need inventory software to help you track and catalog your items. These can provide you a means for storing data and for better tracking. Meanwhile, on the scanner side, you have the barcode scanner app to help you scan the codes. 

Setup Your Inventory Barcode System Today

Having an inventory barcode system can help you keep track of your products. With it, you can find out about which items managed to sell well and which ones need more effort in marketing them. Whichever you need, a barcode system can put a push forward for your business.

Did you find this helpful? We have other articles ready for you to check out, as we cover various topics that may suit your fancy. You can start with one of these articles as we cover topics such as this one.

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