Why Barcode Scanning is a Must Have for Small Businesses
Many business resort to simple methods for tracking data, but these methods are not always optimal. In some cases, at the point of sale, items are tallied up by hand or calculator, occupying both the time of the employee and the customer while they work to assess the order total. Indeed, modern businesses need to look to quicker, more customer friendly modes of operation if they hope to compete in the modern business arena effectively. This is made possible by something so ubiquitous that it can often slip the mind: barcodes. Yes, those zebra striped boxes that find their way onto every item on the shelf, from soup cans to suit jackets, have a role to play in effectively operating and streamlining your business. Go figure.
A simple exercise to demonstrate the validity of this claim is to consider the amount of effort your staff would have to undergo to price up and check out an order of 100+ items for your customer. The process of manually adding each of these items to the order can be a nightmare, limiting your time to profitability ratio greatly. Unfortunately, this exceptional method for streamlining operations and making checkout faster is often ignored or otherwise neglected by companies looking to cut down on expenses and save their employees time. If your business, big or small, has an inventory to manage, be assured that having a method in place for barcoding and scanning barcoded items is going to save you time and money while increasing efficiency.
What is Barcode Scanning?
While you may understand the potential benefits of barcode scanning for your small business, it may yet remain unclear just where to look for barcoding capability, and what kind of hardware and software requirements need to be met before realizing any of the potential benefits. While barcode scanning obviously needs to be included in your point of sale processes, perhaps less obviously, it should also be provided for in your inventory management platform. In fact, unification of all three systems (point of sale, inventory management, and barcode scanning) can be an invaluable opportunity for increased efficiency. This degree of unification and integration is for the most part only found in an ERP system which supports these three platforms. By using an integrated barcode scanning system like this customer orders made in your point of sale lead to much greater efficiency for sales and accounting, especially.
What are the Benefits?
Barcoding systems are both inexpensive and user-friendly, making them indispensable to retail organizations. They track key data, including stock levels and price point, and when this automated data is integrated with your point of sale, inventory and accounting systems, tracking merchandise and payments becomes a much simpler process. In fact, this automation can result in faster data collection, reduced errors, easier training and greater control over inventory.
Customers hate waiting; it’s a universal truth that spans countless industries. Heck, you’re likely guilty of it too, walking past every line at checkout looking for the shortest one, even if that ultimately only saves you a minute. Imagine the impatience you would feel then if all items were entered manually. You’d probably be unhappy with the service. But by introducing barcode scanning to checkout areas, you minimize delays and mistakes.
Because an ERP based barcode scanning system integrates with the rest of your business, your business data is more accurate and processes can be more effectively tracked through the organization. Through this improved inventory tracking, you can respond more quickly to leads and opportunities. Furthermore, a lot of time is wasted by warehouse teams hunting down items when trying to fulfill orders for your customers. These warehouses staff members can benefit from automated data collection by using the barcode scanning technology to ensure that every item they have on hand in the warehouse is location stamped and logged into the system. By keeping these close tabs on your inventory, you can increase the speed at which you can achieve fulfillment for your customer.
While we’re on the subject of potential speed benefits for warehouses, it's also good to touch on another massive benefit and selling point of ERP integrated barcode scanning: Inventory controls. By taking advantage of barcode scanning, item data is instantly available at a scan and inventory levels can be tracked with scan based logging. Through this and more, the barcode system can be used to do most of the heavy lifting of inventory management for you. Another potential use case for the inventory management capabilities of barcode scanning is tracking the movement of packages into and out of your multiple warehouse locations. This level of inventory control offered by barcode scanning is assuredly more accurate and potentially easier to train your workers in the use of when compared to traditional inventory management processes.
While the dark ages before barcode technology were wrought with inaccuracies and human errors caused by manual data entry, this is 2017, and barcoding technology is both essential and more available than ever before. Let’s be honest, being human is much of what makes work difficult; shying away from difficult tasks, brushing off administrative work, or becoming fatigued. All of these things can result in errors where data is not recorded properly and critical information is either inaccurate or unavailable when needed. By eliminating a portion of the human element from these administrative tasks with a barcode system, the potential risks are greatly reduced and your organization’s accuracy can be increased. This increased accuracy could benefit inventory stock levels, end of month consolidation, general accounting, sales, forecasting and more.
Easier Employee Training
By making use of a barcode system the time it takes to train your employees can also be reduced greatly. This is likely to be the case because of the simple fact that it is much easier to teach someone how to use a scanning device than it is to teach them a manual sales or warehouse process. Further, because the barcode generates item information for the employee, they are saved the time-consuming effort required to learn the entire inventory and respective pricing. This will streamline your operations, both in the warehouse and at the point of sale thanks to the clearly defined best practices and procedures.
Barcoding for Success with ERP
When you stop to consider potentially problematic scenarios, like when a customer shows up with a basket filled with 20 differently priced items, where the cashier has to go through each item to make a tally for a price, the nature of not having a system for barcode scanning should be immediately apparent. While it is possible to use a manual system with relative success for a time, as you expand it will become increasingly difficult to justify. That’s not to mention the degree of professionalism that a barcode scanning system lends small businesses.
Today's modern business environment demands that companies stay ahead of the curve, and without a system for barcode scanning in place, you’re a few decades behind it. Get ahead of the curve and enjoy the benefits of barcode data collection for your point of sale, inventory management, and accounting simplicity