How to implement a barcode inventory system

Person holding a phone with a pink case and a pink wallet with a plane ticket sticking out

Deliveries are coming and going, overwhelming you and your staff trying to keep track of these items whizzing around you.

It can quickly become very chaotic, especially during high demand. Disorganization when handling your inventory serves only to disrupt your business and even harm its reputation. So, how exactly do other manufacturers overcome this task?

At this critical stage, when your order volumes are increasing, you need to know how to implement a barcode system for inventory to keep your company scaling.

This article contains everything you need to know about barcodes, helping you decide if they are something you need and how to implement them into your workflow.

What are barcodes?

How to implement a barcode system for inventory? When scanning products into your system, be sure to do so in a consistent manner.

A barcode is a machine-readable code representing information about the product to which it is attached.

A barcode can encode many different pieces of information, such as the price or weight of an item, and can come in many different forms. The two most common are 1D and 2D barcodes.

1D barcodes

1D barcodes are linear or one-dimensional barcodes that consist of black and white bars. They are used for storing information about the item to which it is attached and can be scanned by a laser scanner or camera. 1D barcodes typically contain numerical values but may also encode alphanumeric characters, such as a product name or serial number. Depending on the application, these barcodes can be printed in various sizes and formats.

You can commonly find 1D barcodes on products in retail stores, but they are often also used in digital applications such as ticketing systems and loyalty cards. They are an efficient way to store information and are used in various applications, from inventory tracking to product identification.

1D barcodes can be scanned quickly and accurately, making them ideal for automated processes. With the right technology, 1D barcodes can also capture additional information, such as expiration dates or batch numbers. This makes them invaluable in tracking products throughout their lifecycle. Some examples include UPCs and ISBN codes for books.

2D barcodes

2D barcodes, also known as matrix codes or two-dimensional barcodes, are made up of black and white cells arranged in a grid pattern. Unlike 1D barcodes, which contain short alpha-numerical values, 2D barcodes can store more complex data such as URLs, text files, and images. These types of barcodes provide users with more flexibility to store larger amounts of data and increase security against data tampering.

Popular examples of 2D barcodes include QR codes and DataMatrix codes. These types of barcodes are often used in industrial processes, such as tracking components in manufacturing or identifying drugs in pharmaceuticals. They are also commonly found on printed documents, business cards, and packaging.

2D barcodes are an efficient way to store and share information quickly and accurately. With the right technology, they can also be used for authentication purposes, such as verifying a user’s identity or proving that an item is genuine.

Barcodes conveniently store information about products and make it easy to scan and track them.

However, they are not perfect. Barcodes can be hard to read if they are damaged or dirty, and they can also be counterfeit. This can be difficult to spot, so it is important to check the legitimacy of a barcode before relying on it and keep your knowledge up-to-date when implementing an inventory system with barcode scanning.

Try out Katana's barcode inventory management software with a free trial*

Thousands of manufacturers enjoy real-time inventory insights with Katana's barcode scanning inventory management. Try it for free.
*No credit card required

What is a barcode inventory system?

How to implement a barcode system for inventory? Keep track of any changes that are made to your inventory levels.

A barcode inventory system is a way of tracking your products using barcodes. Barcodes are printed on labels and placed on items so they can be quickly scanned with a reader or smartphone. A barcode inventory system will allow you to have real-time visibility into the location and quantity of each item in your warehouse or store.

When you scan an item, the information is sent to a database where it can be tracked and monitored. By having access to accurate information about your products, you can make better decisions about stocking levels, purchasing patterns, and more.

With a barcode inventory system, you’ll also be able to generate reports quickly and easily for performance metrics such as sales numbers, bestsellers, and more.

A barcode inventory system will also help you eliminate waste by preventing unnecessary restocking and product loss. If keeping up with your business’s growth feels like an impossible task — whether due to too many locations or products — implementing an inventory system with barcode scanning will make managing growth much easier for you.

With accurate information about where each item is located at all times, you can make better decisions about where to store new products and how to move existing inventory around.

If your current inventory management system isn’t working for you, it may be time to consider a barcode system. If you’re struggling with product loss or damage, incorrect counts, or misplaced items, barcodes can help you keep track of your inventory and prevent these issues. A barcode system will also give you more visibility into your inventory to see when items are running low and need to be reordered.

If any of the above sounds familiar, it’s probably time to invest in a barcode inventory system. Barcodes can save you time and money by increasing accuracy and efficiency in your inventory management.

Need a barcode scanning solution for your e-commerce and accounting software?

Be sure to check out the following articles:

What are the 4 reasons why it’s important to use a barcode system?

How to implement a barcode system for inventory? When it comes to implementing, you will want to start by researching the different options that are available and finding one that best suits your needs.

A barcode inventory system helps you to:

  • Improve your inventory control
  • Make better-informed business decisions
  • Reduce losses due to theft or errors
  • Improve customer satisfaction

But let’s take a closer look at all of these points.

1. Improve your inventory control

There are many reasons why improving your inventory control is important.

Perhaps the most obvious reason is that it can help you save money. If you have better inventory control, you can order less stock and avoid building dead stock items that may become outdated or damaged. In addition, good inventory control can help you keep track of your stock levels to reorder items before they run out and avoid bottlenecks that can cause disruptions to your business operations.

This can again help you to avoid losing sales due to stockouts.

Aside from the financial benefits, good inventory control can also help to improve your customer service levels. If customers cannot find the products they need in your store — they may go elsewhere. This could lead to lost sales and a tarnished reputation.

Improving inventory control can be challenging, but the rewards are well worth the effort. By improving your inventory management, you can boost your bottom line and keep your customers happy.

2. Make better-informed business decisions

One of the main benefits of using barcodes in your shop floor planning is that they can help you make more informed decisions about your products and services.

For example, suppose you have a large amount of inventory at any given time. In that case, you can use barcodes to quickly determine which items are selling well, which ones are not selling, and where there may be opportunities to improve sales.

Another benefit of barcodes is that they allow you to collect data about your customers and their purchasing habits more easily.

This information can be used to improve your marketing efforts, better understand customer needs, and make more targeted decisions about product development and product pricing.

Overall, barcodes can be a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes. If you are not currently using them in your operations, it may be worth considering. They can help you save time and money while also providing valuable insights into your business.

Try Katana's barcode scanning software with a free 14-day trial*

Effortlessly implement barcode scanning into your purchase, inventory, and manufacturing operations workflow to improve your inventory control and sustain your scalability.
*No credit card required

3. Reduce losses due to theft or errors

Barcode systems help reduce losses due to theft or errors by providing a means of tracking inventory.

Scanning items at the POS provides an accurate record of what was sold and when. This information can then be used to reconcile inventory levels, helping prevent stockouts and revenue loss. In addition, barcodes can be used to track individual items as they move through the supply chain, making it easier to identify where errors or losses occur.

By having visibility into these areas, businesses can take steps to correct problems and improve the efficiency of their operations.

Barcode systems can also help reduce losses due to theft, as they provide an audit trail for identifying stolen items. This information can be shared with law enforcement, allowing them to investigate and apprehend suspects more effectively. Overall, by improving visibility and control over inventory levels, businesses can reduce losses due to theft or errors and improve their bottom line.

4. Improve customer satisfaction by ensuring accuracy and timely delivery of orders

A barcode system can help improve customer satisfaction by ensuring accuracy and timely delivery of orders in several ways.

First, a barcode system can reduce errors and inaccuracies in order fulfillment by automating the process of assigning items to orders. This enables businesses to better meet their customers’ expectations for fast, error-free deliveries.

In addition, a barcode system can help improve customer satisfaction by enabling businesses to track inventory levels better and identify opportunities for improving efficiency and reducing costs.

For example, a barcode system may detect that an item is out of stock at location A, but plenty of units are still available at location B. As a result, the business can take steps to transfer these extra units to location A so they can be used to fulfill customer orders, thereby reducing the chances of delays or disruptions in service.

Finally, a barcode system can help improve customer satisfaction by providing businesses with valuable data that can be used to improve shop floor operations and make better decisions about inventory levels, product mix, and other factors that impact the customer experience.

For instance, companies can use data collected through a barcode system to track customer behavior trends and adjust their operations accordingly. This information can then be used to improve the accuracy of predictions about future customer demand, which can help businesses avoid stockouts and other disruptions that can negatively impact customer satisfaction.

Now that you’re aware of the benefits, let’s see how to implement a barcode system for inventory.

How to make a barcode inventory system for your business?

How to implement a barcode system for inventory? Some things to consider when choosing a barcode system for your inventory include how many products you need to track, how quickly you need information about those products, and how often you expect changes in inventory levels.

Implementing a barcode system can seem daunting, but these six steps will help you get started.

By planning your system and investing in good technology, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently manage your inventory moving forward. And with the right system in place, you’ll have more time for what truly matters — growing your business. Whether you need to keep track of limited-edition products, perishable inventory, or simply want to streamline your stock tracking process, implementing a barcode system can help simplify things and make your life easier.

So, where should you start?

1. Decide what type of barcode system you need

There are several options available for barcode systems, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs.

A simple scanner and software solution may be all you need if you’re only looking to track inventory levels. But suppose you want to be able to track product location or keep track of more detailed information like expiration dates. In that case, you’ll need a more robust system like barcode inventory management software for manufacturing.

2. Choose the right barcode scanner

Once you know what type of system you need, it’s time to select a suitable scanner.

There are many different scanners on the market, so choosing one that will work well with your chosen software solution and fit your budget is crucial. Not sure where to look? Here is a short list of barcode scanners that can be used with 3rd party barcode scanning solutions:

3. Set up your barcode system

Once you have your scanner and software in place, it’s time to set up your system.

This step will vary depending on the type of system you’ve chosen, but in general, you’ll need to create barcodes for each product and then print them out or attach them to your product packaging.

For example, to get set up with Katana’s manufacturing inventory software, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Log in or sign up for the 14-day free trial
  2. Under settings, go to Barcodes and enable the type of barcodes you wish to use
  3. When receiving raw materials or other deliveries, plug in your barcode scanner, activate scanning, and you’re good to go 

4. Train your employees on how to use the system

Once your system is set up, it’s essential to train your employees to use it properly.

This is a crucial step for ensuring that your system runs smoothly and efficiently. Depending on the complexity of your system, you may need to provide employees with additional training on an ongoing basis.

5. Test your system regularly

It’s important to test your barcode system regularly to ensure it’s working properly. This step will help you catch any errors or problems to fix them before they cause major issues.

6. Stay organized and keep track of your inventory

Finally, you need to stay organized and keep track of your inventory levels.

This step is especially important if you have a large inventory or sell products with limited shelf lives. You can avoid overstocking or selling expired products by keeping track of your inventory. And if you have a barcode system in place, this task will be much simpler.

And that’s how to set up a barcode inventory system. Next, let’s look at things to consider when looking for a suitable system.

What to consider when choosing an inventory barcode scanning system?

How to implement a barcode system for inventory? Once you have chosen a system for tracking your inventory, make sure that everything is set up properly before starting to use it.

The three things to consider when implementing an inventory barcode system:

  1. Define your goals
  2. Account for your software and hardware needs
  3. Get expert advice

Let’s explore each step in more detail.

1. Define your goals

Before you start using barcodes, take some time to think about what you want to achieve with a barcode inventory system:.

  • Track stock levels
  • Improve customer service
  • Reduce shrinkage

Once you know your goals, you can choose the right barcode system for your needs.

2. Account for your software and hardware needs

Barcode systems require software and hardware, so it’s important to consider your needs before investing in a system.

Do you need a handheld scanner for mobile scanning? Will you be printing your labels or using pre-printed labels? Ensure you have all the necessary hardware and software before implementing a barcode system into your business’s workflows.

3. Get expert advice

While it’s possible to implement a barcode system yourself, you will often get better results by consulting with experts in this field.

Experienced barcode consultants can advise on the proper hardware and software for your needs, ensure your system is compliant with industry standards, and troubleshoot any issues that arise during the implementation or use of your barcode inventory system.

By following these tips, you can get the most out of your barcode system and improve efficiency across your organization.

Give Katana a go with a free 14-day trial*

Katana's inventory barcode scanning software integrates with your favorite business tools allowing you to manage your entire business from a centralized platform
*No credit card required

Katana’s barcode inventory control system

Katana is an all-in-one solution for manufacturers looking to centralize their entire business to one intuitive platform.

By automating the process of tracking inventory levels, barcode inventory systems can save you time and money while reducing errors.

Katana’s barcode inventory system helps manufacturers scan their barcodes to track items moving in and out of stock. When an item is scanned, Katana automatically updates its records to reflect the current quantity on hand. You can easily see when something needs to be reordered, which helps ensure that no items are lost or misplaced.

In addition to being more efficient, barcode inventory systems can also help businesses save money by reducing the time employees spend manually entering data and the number of mistakes that occur during this process.

Katana empowers manufacturers with all the necessary features needed for:

  • Assigning barcodes to inventory items
  • Seeing barcode numbers within Katana
  • Identifying inventory items using barcodes

If you’re looking for a way to streamline your inventory management system, consider investing in a barcode inventory control system today — you’ll be amazed at how much time and money you can save in the long run.

Katana offers a 14-day free trial letting you see how the software can benefit you before you subscribe.

Start manufacturing in the cloud
Start a free 14-day trial*
*No credit card required