Your guide to WooCommerce barcode scanning for manufacturers
WooCommerce barcodes help you automate and optimize your business, from inventory management to stock taking. But which is the best for manufacturers to use?
Business is booming — orders keep coming in, and your shop floor is buzzing with activity. But as your order count increases, so do the issues in your workflow. Items get lost, materials run out, orders get delayed, and keeping track of expiry dates becomes next to impossible.
At this point, many manufacturers turn to third-party solutions to help them implement better tracking. For WooCommerce users, one of these solutions is order barcodes. This article will walk you through how to use barcodes in WooCommerce and the best tools to implement them into your workflow.
WooCommerce barcode plugins — why are they important?
WooCommerce barcode plugins give you and your team the tools to scan and decode the information stored within barcodes. Whether placed on your items or equipment, barcodes make it easy to store and trace information all along your supply chain. A WooCommerce barcode system quickly adds a ton of benefits for you and your employees. But still, the two most notable advantages are:
Reduced likelihood of errors occurring within your business
More accurate data to perform audits and monitor your inventory movements (or lack thereof)
But ultimately, having a WooCommerce barcode inventory system might be a legal requirement depending on your industry. Businesses in food production or those that handle perishable inventory need to follow strict regulations that may result in lawsuits or worse when violated. In either case, using barcodes in combination with the right tools can help you keep better track of batches to perform product recalls with ease. One of these tools is a WooCommerce barcode plugin.
Now you know all about the importance of barcodes, you might be wondering if barcodes are necessary for your particular business. The answer to this question depends on how and why you are turning to a WooCommerce barcode system. Do you want to:
Track raw materials between factories, warehouses, and on your shop floor?
Track the expiration date of your inventory items?
Use barcodes at a physical POS location?
Once you know how you would use a WooCommerce barcode generator to help you run your business, it’s time to start shopping for a solution. But first, here are a few simple but important tips to maximize the efficiency of your barcode system.
Consider barcode placements carefully
Barcodes are fantastic for reducing the amount of time it takes to perform almost any action with your inventory. But, if you and your employees spend several minutes rotating items trying to locate them, then what’s the point?
Try to have a consistent process for labeling items and tools — like having all barcodes placed in a specific area on the surface of your products or materials. Or better yet, placing barcodes on the shelves where you keep items.
Standardize your barcodes from the start
If you use 1D or 2D barcodes, make sure your workflows and processes are supported within your industry and all your company departments. Try to keep the data structure stored in your barcodes as similar as possible to avoid confusion when handling 100s or 1000s of items.
Unite your teams and keep them in sync
Finally, once you’ve implemented a WooCommerce barcode plugin into your business, take time to make sure everyone that uses them is on board, trained, and working in harmony. If you have employees not using barcodes within your business, you will inevitably run into inconsistencies in your inventory reports, and valuable data will go missing.
Benefits of implementing WooCommerce barcodes
In case you’re still on the fence about implementing a barcode system for your WooCommerce store, here are six benefits you can expect to see after taking the plunge.
1. More accuracy and fewer human errors
While there are many jobs that are best done by a human, people are prone to small but costly mistakes when it comes to repetitive tasks. This is especially true when working with inefficient Excel spreadsheets, which also demand a lot of manual updating that takes more time than it’s worth. Opting for a WooCommerce inventory management plugin will not only save you time but ensure your barcode data is always accurate and up to date.
2. Higher volume of quality data for analytics
WooCommerce barcode inventory systems allow you to gather data on your merchandise and workflows. Shortly after implementation, you’ll have a better understanding of:
Your business’ order processing speed
Inventory levels at different stages of production
A live overview of incoming orders and items sold
When setting up your WooCommerce barcodes, make sure you aren’t using duplicate barcodes on different items. Otherwise, your system will give you inconsistent data.
3. Optimized inventory control
WooCommerce barcodes help you track your inventory yields in real-time, boosting the accuracy of your inventory turnover rates. With this information, you can adjust how much inventory you hold to reduce your carrying costs. You can use a WooCommerce barcode inventory management plugin to track assets.
4. Low implementation costs
Install your WooCommerce barcode plugin, use a WooCommerce barcode generator, and you’re well on your way to using barcodes. With a system in place and after training your employees to use scanners, you’ll find the costs of making the switch relatively low compared to training your team to handle inventory checks manually.
5. Make better business decisions
The data you collect with a WooCommerce barcode system will help you improve your:
Maintenance decisions when analyzing a product’s life cycle
Budgeting policies with a better understanding of capital flow
6. Get more versatility
Barcodes can be printed onto any surface using a variety of different methods while containing the exact information you need them to have. You can find the same versatility when looking at the range of tools available to manage your WooCommerce barcodes. Here are just a few.
WooCommerce barcode plugins made for manufacturers
You might want to try and get set up with a WooCommerce barcode system that is most popular with retailers. However, manufacturers have different types of inventories they need to monitor — meaning you’ll need a more robust tool if you’re manufacturing the products you sell on WooCommerce. Katana is a manufacturing ERP that is cloud-based and purpose-built for manufacturers, offering:
Katana is built to mold around your workflows and comes with a native integration with WooCommerce to help you bridge the gap between sales and your shop floor. If you use an e-commerce service that we haven’t built an integration for yet, you can always take advantage of our open API and create your own.
But — the pièce de résistance — if you use Katana, you can integrate your WooCommerce and Katana accounts for an end-to-end WooCommerce barcode scanning system.
How Katana’s WooCommerce barcode software works
Katana supports manufacturers using WooCommerce by giving them access to features they need to get total visibility over their business — including their barcode scanning system. With Katana, manufacturers can:
Assign barcode numbers to inventory items
See and track barcode numbers in Katana’s visual platform
Identify batches, raw materials, and products with barcodes
Scan barcodes using smart devices
Bulk import and export barcodes to and from Katana
Once you plug in your WooCommerce barcode scanner into your device, you can start using Katana’s WooCommerce barcode system to boost inventory control. Combining a visual interface and smart real-time master planner, Katana makes managing inventory and manufacturing intuitive while connecting to all the services you know and love.
How to implement WooCommerce barcodes with Katana
Getting started on the road to a unified WooCommerce barcode system is simple. All you need to do is follow these three steps to integrate your Katana and WooCommerce accounts and start managing your business in one place.
Once you’re in, you’ll need to find and select Settings from the main menu and click the Integrations tab to sync your Katana and WooCommerce accounts.
Once you configure your WooCommerce integration, select Continue, and you’re done! Head back to your Settings to enable barcodes and start managing your WooCommerce barcodes. To learn more, watch our step-by-step guide to getting the WooCommerce barcode system below:
An example workflow using WooCommerce barcodes in Katana
Let’s say you manufacture custom computers for gamers. WooCommerce barcodes are handy when handling graphic cards because your inventory becomes obsolete as technology advances. With Katana, you can track different types of barcodes, including:
In this case, you would just want to track items in the company. Luckily, a new shipment of cards has come in, which would need to get scanned and saved into your system. After adding a new product card in Katana, you’ll generate an internal barcode for this new item. This would then need to be exported and uploaded into our barcode label software to print.
Next, using a USB or Bluetooth scanner, you would need to highlight the Supplier barcodes box in Katana and scan the barcode on the item to save this new information. Once set up, and when future deliveries come in, you can head to the Buy section within Katana, select Start scanning, and use the WooCommerce barcode feature to start receiving these items.
If the new cards come in batches, we’ll need to create a batch number that will generate a batch code for you when receiving. That way, you can track which batch the graphics card originally came from, which is perfect for when a batch of graphics cards turns out to be comprised from the supplier’s end.
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Improve your inventory management with WooCommerce barcodes
And there you have it, everything you need to know about the world of WooCommerce barcode scanning.
Regardless of which plugin you decide to use, the main objective for you when finding a tool is research — ideally using software comparison sites such as Capterra, Software Advice, GetApp, or others — and finding something that can handle: