Big businesses have inventory management down to a science. It’s a must in today’s competitive, “just in time” business environment. While your business may be small, it still has inventory to manage. Getting your inventory under control saves time, money, and effort. Tracking inventory by hand or using a spreadsheet certainly can work for small businesses, but using a label-based inventory management system with barcode labels is much more efficient. Best of all, it’s not too complicated. Here’s what you need to get started.
- Barcodes — Depending on your business, you’ll likely use either UPC codes or SKUs. If you’re stocking products from other manufacturers, the UPC codes are right on the packages. If you’re manufacturing your own products, you can register your own UPC code with Global Standard 1. SKUs are used for internal operations and can be generated manually or by using software.
- Barcode software — While online barcode generators are available, it’s much easier to use barcode software to generate and print barcodes for inventory management purposes. We recommend barcode and label design software over online tools if you will be generating and printing your own barcodes.
- Barcode printer — Once you have your barcodes designed, you’ll need a way to print them. Your office laser and inkjet printers coupled with sheet labels are a good choice if you want to use existing office equipment to print your barcode labels. However, inventory constantly fluctuates, so you’ll likely need to print barcode labels on a regular basis. Getting a dedicated thermal barcode printer is an excellent idea. Thermal barcode printers are affordable and compact. Some are even portable and wireless, making them perfect for your warehouse, back room, or stockroom.
- Barcode scanner — Finally, your employees will need a way to read those barcodes in order to manage your inventory. Thus, you’ll need to invest in a barcode scanner.
By creating a label-based inventory management system, you’ll know what you have at all times — and where these items are located. With an accurate inventory, you can make smarter decisions and avoid buying supplies or equipment you have on hand.