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Inventory Scanning System Explained

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What is an Inventory Control System?

An inventory control system is a set of hardware and software-based tools that automate the process of tracking inventory. The types of inventory tracked can include almost any type of quantifiable good, including food, clothing, books, equipment, and any other item that consumers, retailers, or wholesalers may purchase.

Modern inventory control systems work almost exclusively using barcode technology. Though barcodes were initially developed to automate the process of grocery store checkout, their ability to encode a wide variety of alphabetic and numeric symbols makes them ideal for encoding merchandise for inventory tracking applications. These systems work in real-time using wireless technology to transmit information to a central computer system as transactions occur.

What Industries use Inventory Systems?

Inventory management systems are employed in a wide variety of applications, but they all revolve around tracking delivery of goods to customers. The ability to track inventory is crucial in retail stores, especially those with a large number or variety of merchandise items for sale. It is also used in warehouses to track orders and shipments, and for automated order processing. Other important applications of inventory systems are in manufacturing, shipping, and receiving.

Advantages of an Inventory Control System

Tracking inventory is vital to ensure quality control in businesses that handle transactions revolving around consumer goods. For supermarkets, for example, without proper store inventory control, the store may run out of stock on an important item without knowing in advance. Inventory systems will automatically alert the retailer when it is time to reorder. Inventory tracking is also an important means of automatically tracking large shipments. For example, if a business orders ten pairs of socks for retail resale, but only receives nine pairs, this will be obvious upon inspecting the contents of the package, and error is not likely. On the other hand, say a wholesaler orders 100,000 pairs of socks and 10,000 are missing. Manually counting each pair of socks is likely to result in error.

Automated inventory control systems help minimize the risk of error. In retail stores, inventory control also helps track theft of retail merchandise, providing valuable information about store profits and the need for theft-prevention systems to prevent losses.

How Does a Barcode Inventory System Work?

Automated inventory systems work by scanning a barcode on the item. A barcode scanner is used to read the barcode, and the information encoded by the barcode is read by the machine. This information is then tracked by a central computer system. For example, a purchase order may contain a list of items to be pulled for packing and shipping. The inventory tracking system can serve a variety of functions in this case. It can help a worker locate the items on the order list in the warehouse, it can encode shipping information like tracking numbers and delivery addresses, and it can remove these purchased items from the inventory tally to keep an accurate count of in-stock items.

All this data works in tandem to provide businesses with real-time inventory tracking information. Inventory management systems make it simple to locate and analyze inventory information in real-time with a simple database search and are a vital component to any business moving a supply of goods.

Barcode Inventory Software

Part of your inventory control system that requires consideration is software. Barcode inventory software is a central component due to its ability to help your business manage inventory in a warehouse or retail environment. The correct software for your needs will help you streamline your system and help to automatically update your inventory helping to maintain accuracy and reduce mistakes. Speak with an inventory specialist to help find the correct software.