Inventory management practices can vary considerably from warehouse to warehouse. What companies need vary based on the products they sell and the logistics they deploy, as well as where they stand on the supply chain. For many small businesses, checking and moving stock is a simple matter because of the limited space they have. In this case, conducting counts and assessing the status of orders can be a simple manual task done by a single person using Microsoft Dynamics NAV Handheld Inventory. With this in mind, it’s important to consider some of the advantages of using handheld barcode scanners in this environment to optimize efficiency and productivity.
A simpler solution for a small business
Handheld barcode scanners provide basic functions in inventory. As Demand Media noted, they provide specific data on a given item, such as its stock levels, price and overall placement. This information gets entered into whatever database is in use, whether a simple spreadsheet program or an enterprise resource planning suite such as Dynamics NAV. One person completes the entire process by going from item to item, scanning the barcodes and reviewing the details before confirming and sending them over.
There are specific advantages in play when using a handheld scanner. On the most practical level, there is the simple benefit of being able to scan and track items that would be hard to count otherwise, such as bulky material. That also makes it safer for the worker who performs the task. Another area where handheld scanners shine is mobility: Scanners are remotely operated, which means employees can cover a wide area. It can be as large as the entire warehouse. Moreover, the scanners have long battery lives, which make it simple to complete a given task.
On the most significant level, handheld scanners offer cost and time savings with a minimal investment. The materials are relatively inexpensive to purchase in comparison to radio frequency-based tracking devices among others. By using these scanners over manual counting, there’s also less of a chance for errors and recounts. That saves a lot of time during physical inventories, which cuts down on labor costs in the long term.
Finding the right place
Of course, not every situation merits the use of handheld scanners, so it’s essential to understand their limitations before making the purchase. Supply Chain Services offers a couple disadvantages. The first is that the reading range of the scanners themselves is fairly limited, only up to six feet. While this is fine in small warehouses with limited stock, larger buildings with massive aisles filled with merchandise may present a logistical problem to workers. Handheld scanners in that situation become more cumbersome. In addition, some environmentally sensitive products may take issue with the presence of people with scanners.
The other issue is the fact the operation isn’t hands-free. Employees need to use at least one hand to scan and read data. For the most part, this isn’t a concern, especially since most of the time that’s the only task required of the worker. However, more task-intensive settings may find it necessary to have a hands-free operation because of the necessity of multitasking. In that circumstance, companies should weigh the productivity gains against the possible efficiency losses.
What is the most ideal setting for using Dynamics NAV Handheld Inventory? More often than not, small businesses that have one warehouse for inventory and a low number of employees may find using these scanners is the most cost effective solution. It’s an affordable investment that synchronizes well with the rest of the ERP platform, and can make it easy to track the movements of key merchandise.
Companies interested in learning more about the use of Microsoft Dynamics NAV Handheld Inventory should download the “Keeping the Physical World and Virtual World in Sync” white paper today.