3 questions to ask before implementing inventory barcoding solutions

///, Warehouse Management/3 questions to ask before implementing inventory barcoding solutions

Manufacturers working with an ERP system for production and finance management should utilize the same data oversight in inventory warehouses. Some companies are hesitant to move software to locations that don't allow for computer terminals.

Mobile technologies like the Microsoft Dynamics NAV mobile warehouse inventory management system provide warehouse workers with the tools they need to instantly report information to supervisors. Barcode scanners are excellent devices for quick data capture, but only when they are implemented correctly. Here are some questions managers or business heads should ask before adopting a barcoding system:

1. Is it right for the warehouse?
A manufacturer should ask if it has a warehouse that could benefit from barcode technology.

F. Curtis Barry & Company said barcode scanners have a proven track record for improving inventory accuracy, reducing labor costs, speeding up processes and measuring productivity when implemented by the right company. A business using barcode tools should have a warehouse with a high number of stock items servicing multiple orders. The distribution of materials should be a critical part of a company's data flow. Any company that needs constant inventory visibility should investigate barcoding possibilities. 

A warehouse must be ready to devote time to initial labeling and procedure restructuring. Microsoft Dynamics NAV barcoding can save time in the long run, but only if a warehouse puts the effort in upfront.

2. Is a warehouse management system in place?
Barcoding does not work in a vacuum. The tools must have a working data system to which they report information. More importantly, the management systems utilized by the company have to capture unique details delivered by the warehouse.

WiseGeek suggested manufacturers with large warehouses should have an inventory manager who can oversee barcode adoption. A person who is familiar with daily operations should work with a full business implementation team to discuss how the technology should perform and how the overall company infrastructure can best profit from constant warehouse reporting.

Implementation of a new system should be an incremental process. Start by analyzing current procedures and build a system out of what works. Use new tools to compensate for the previous strategies that were less effective.

3. What data should be captured?
When creating a barcoding management system, the ERP software can be reconfigured to save and display the inventory information.

The implementation team gets to decide what details are displayed when a warehouse worker scans an item. Small Business Trends indicated each business may need different information from its stock. After a product is scanned, the inventory software can pull up quantity, location, price and date of creation. Resources for manufacturing could display cost or supplier information.

Once the exact data reporting is configured, continued use could lead to automation. Inventory software provided with real-time data highlights which items are selling in certain seasons. Reorder reports are created using quantity limits. When an implementation team decides what information is captured, they can also decide how the data should be put to work in the future.

Manufacturers with more questions should download the "Keeping the Physical World and the Virtual World in Sync" white paper.