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Fishbowl is a hybrid manufacturing and warehouse management solution designed for small and midsize companies. Key features include inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP), job shop floor control, work order manage...Read more
With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more
Flowtrac is a cloud-based and on-premise warehouse management solution that helps companies manage their Inventory, Assets, Warehouse, Work In Process, and other specialty tracking requirements. The solution is suitable and deploy...Read more
AltheaSuite Inventory Management is a comprehensive inventory management solution for all businesses. It's a cloud-based SAS solution and works on all modern web browsers and devices. This solution is developed with a strong focus...Read more
Finale Inventory is an intuitive, cloud-based inventory management system that is easy to use while also designed to scale to the demands of a growing business. Seamlessly handle all stock movements from purchasing through to sale...Read more
eTurns is a cloud-based inventory management solution that helps distributors and their customers automate inventory replenishment at the point-of-use (stockrooms, service trucks, etc.) using smartphones, scanners, RFID and IoT we...Read more
Wholesaler or distributor? Zangerine is built to simplify your inventory growth. Go live in 5 sessions. Control your whole business from BI, Purchasing, Inventory, E-commerce, CRM, Quotes, to Pick,Pack & Ship. Quickbooks integrate...Read more
Kechie Distribution Management efficiently manages internal and external resources. Suited for growing businesses, the management tools provide control of replenishment, warehouse management, pick, pack, and ship, procurement, pro...Read more
ArbiMed Inventory is a cloud-based inventory management solution designed for the medical and other clinical industries. With ArbiMed Inventory, medical professionals and administrators can easily track valuable medical assets fro...Read more
Stock Pro is a warehouse management solution that supports the end-to-end process of receiving, tracking, and fulfilling customer orders. StockPro fits for small to midsize businesses, up to 50MM annual revenue, and 100 employees....Read more
QuickBooks Enterprise is an accounting solution designed for SMBs across different industry verticals such as construction, nonprofit distribution, manufacturing, and retail. With QB Enterprise solution, any business owner can exp...Read more
Asset Panda is a cloud-based platform for facility managers that offers a suite of applications including asset tracking and maintenance management. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone and can be used from anywhere wh...Read more
EZOfficeInventory is a dynamic asset and maintenance management solution tailored for companies of all sizes. The cloud-based software works as you do and is accessible from anywhere and at any time.
Track items across locati...Read more
Lightspeed Retail is a cloud-based POS solution that is suitable for retailers in industries such as apparel, footwear, bike, jewelry, pet, sporting goods and home decor. The solution offers retailers tools including inventory man...Read more
Cin7 is a cloud-based retail management solution with e-commerce, inventory management, point of sale (POS) and reporting features. The solution combines the functions of inventory management, POS, third-party logistics (3PL) and ...Read more
inFlow Inventory is an inventory management system designed for item-based businesses. Comprehensive and user-friendly, inFlow saves time on paperwork, fulfill customer needs accurately and free up cash held in excess inventory. ...Read more
Square for Retail is a cloud-based point of sale (POS) and retail solution for all retailers. Key features include inventory management, customer relationship management, reporting and employee management. The solution comes with ...Read more
Unleashed Software is a cloud app that gives product businesses the freedom to better make, manage and move products by giving complete clarity and control over suppliers, production, warehouses and sales. Unleashed allows busines...Read more
Orderhive is a cloud-based order management system designed for small, medium and large retailers, wholesalers and distributors.
With Orderhive, retail sellers can track their orders, inventory and shipments across all of the...Read more
GoFrugal POS is a hybrid point of sale (POS) solution that helps retailers across various industries, to manage their distribution and billing routines and automate financial transactions. The solution can be deployed either on-pr...Read more
Here's a question for you: How's your handwriting? As penmanship and legible handwriting lose ground in classrooms to more relevant and widely-used means of communication, such as coding and typing, it stands to reason businesses run by adults would also forego manual processes for more accurate and practical technologies. For tracking inventory, that's where barcoding software comes in.
In this Buyer's Guide, we'll go over all the basics you need to know before you start searching for barcode software to help speed up and improve your inventory management and tracking processes. Here's what we'll cover:
Do you remember QR codes? Those little scannable squares that used to show up on product labels, t-shirts, posters, street signs and pretty much everywhere else? They were basically barcodes that consumers who had downloaded the required iPhone or Android app could scan to access more information about the product, event or business that was advertising.
Barcode software uses the same sort of technology to help warehouses and distribution centers keep track of every inventory item that comes in or goes out their doors.
Barcode systems usually have two components: hardware and software. The hardware covers the physical tools (i.e., scanners, printers, computers) necessary to read the barcodes. The software is a little more involved, though, as it encapsulates technologies that can do things such as create the barcodes (machine-readable codes typically expressed in patterns of parallel lines) and track the items in a designated inventory management system.
Barcode software functionality will vary according to the vendor and the user's needs, but here are some of the most common features to look for in barcode systems:
Technology that creates unique barcodes that tie to a specific product or products to reduce mistakes with tracking inventory.
Technology that allows a computer to read barcodes and interpret the information they contain.
Custom label creation
Allows users to create labels for products that contain whatever information the user requires, such as colors, sizes, dates etc.
Precreated labels that users can default to if no specialized information needs to be conveyed in labels.
Can be used to alert warehouses of any pertinent information before workers scan or unpack the product. For example, an easily-breakable product may come with a receiving label that reads “fragile" to ensure it is unpacked with care.
Similar to receiving labels, shipping labels alert transporters and recipients to any special instructions for carrying or unpacking a product.
Connection to a system that tracks things such as stock levels, product locations, raw materials etc.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID)
Small devices that attach to the product and contain identification information that can be retrieved via scanner.
Serial number tracking
Allows users to assign specific serial numbers to products and track them.
When weighing the pros and cons of a barcoding system, it might be helpful to consider the following benefits this type of software can offer:
No more human error. By eliminating manual data entry and automating the inventory tracking process, barcode software can create clearer lines of communication and help ensure no mistakes are made due to things such as illegible handwriting or tired workers.
Time saved training employees. People know how to scan things; we've got self-checkout lanes at Walmart and those ubiquitous QR codes, so it's not unreasonable to expect the average person to know 1) what a barcode scanner is, and 2) how to use it. From there, it's just a matter of learning the software.
More data gets conveyed. The difference between a barcode and a label is pretty substantial. You can only fit so much information in a form label, but barcodes are able to represent so much more data without taking up any space. So you don't have to choose between stock levels, pricing information, expiration dates or item attributes—you can include them all in one barcode.
Everything happens faster. When a barcode is scanned, the information gets translated and entered into inventory systems right away, so data is available much more quickly than it would be if done by hand. This saves users valuable time and minimizes confusion over stock levels.
Making decisions gets easier. When it comes to figuring out what to do, nothing is more useful than hard data. With instantaneous, accurate barcoding systems, decision-makers get to access an abundance of data to help determine the best course of action. For instance, exact inventory tracking can help managers calibrate inventory levels and save money on storage or better meet customer demand.
How Is Barcode Software Sold?
We've already mentioned that barcoding systems typically consist of two elements: hardware and software. When searching for a barcoding solution, you'll want to consider how vendors package their hardware and software and what features you're getting. You can certainly buy the hardware and software separately, but that leaves you with the responsibility of connecting two different products or coding your own software system to match your hardware. A better option for the money would be an integrated system that includes both.
We've already covered the benefits of barcoding software, but there are a few drawbacks that you'll want to keep in mind when researching vendors for your business.
RFID integration. It's really important to be aware that barcoding software is not the same thing as radio-frequency identification (RFID) software. While many barcode systems include this feature, you should not assume a product offers RFID without finding out for sure.
Cost. Barcode systems have a wide range when it comes to pricing, and that gets even wider when you throw in ERP or SCM suites with barcoding capabilities. You'll also want to be crystal clear on any hidden fees before committing to a vendor, and it's not a bad idea to budget for software training so you can make sure your employees learn the new system.
Installation. Yes, barcoding software will do wonders for speeding up your processes once it's in place, but you should be prepared to deal with any lag or delays during installation and deployment. It takes a while to generate barcodes for every product, and this is the part where there will be confusion to overcome. Planning for it and being willing and able to make quick adjustments will help a lot.
And of course, if you're still not sure where to begin your research, you can always reach out to our team of expert advisors at (844) 687-6771 for a quick consultation on your business needs.