Why you should be using bar codes in your business – Part 3
How do I implement them in my Business?
You are at a point where you’ve worked out that having accurate stock will save you wasting money and make you more profitable – or you have staff who are sometimes not as attentive to stock codes as you are and end up selling the wrong stock.
The theory is pretty simple – you just need to ensure that every stock item in your system has a bar code against it – easy!
Which is fine when you have a handful of products, but when you hit either 100's or 1,000's of stock lines, it is a bigger undertaking.
First thing would be to check that your software can handle it. And does it handle multiple bar codes against one stock item. You'll often find at least two bar codes on a product - a UPC and an EAN. Then some manufacturers will change their bar code for the same product intermittently.
The reality is that it tends to be a project to capture all those bar codes. This can take anything from a day up to months, depending on what your resources are like and who you are dealing with.
You can ask your suppliers for a list of stock and bar codes in Excel. We find more and more wholesalers or manufacturers can send you this information., who will happily provide a list of stock prices and bar codes. You then mass import them in to your system (or get a consultant to do it as it will take them a lot less time to do than you).
Alternatively you need to move round the store with a laptop and scanner, and scan the codes in to your system (or if you have them, specialised scanners similar to the picture above. These are loaded with software such as Triumph’s Inventory Scanning module, or similar programs by Unleashed or Dear Systems).
If you want to be able to print bar codes, again you just need to decide what type of labels you want to print (what size, permanent stickers, easy peel off, do they need to be waterproof etc). A consultant will then be able to advise where to source those stickers and what type of printer you should use.
Finally, you also need to train your existing staff to the change. You may find that staff who 'know' stock item codes will be reluctant to start using a scanner so there needs to be some change management strategies involved!
As you can see, there is a bit of work involved in setting up bar codes, however you will reap the rewards.
So to summarise
What is a barcode – simply a set of numbers or characters printed using a specialized font.
Why should I use them? To have more accurate stock – which leads to better use of your cash and increased profitability.
How do I implement them? Check your software will handle it, then marry the stock items in your system to bar codes.
We hope we have given you an overview on bar codes.
Avenaut Consulting specialises in entry level integrated ERP systems for those companies that have outgrown the likes of Xero + multiple add-ons, or Quickbooks or MYOB. We often deal with companies whose existing systems are no longer being supported and developed, whether that be due to their choice of sofwtare being bought out by a bigger company, or where the developers are hanging up their boots. We are passionate about getting the right systems in place so that you can grow your business and get time back in your life.
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