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Do You Have an Inventory Control System for Your Business?

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Inventory control systems utilize barcode technology. They help automate the inventory tracking process, but they also simplify checkout for your customers. If you have been avoiding inventory control for your retail establishment — whether it is because you think it’s too expensive or you just started out — now is the time to reconsider.

What Does an Inventory Control System Do?

Inventory control systems are hardware components and software that automate keeping track of your inventory. All types of inventory can be tracked with these types of systems too — it’s not just merchandise you’re selling. You can even use them to track your assets. Some of the types of goods you can track with a proper system include:

• Merchandise Goods
• Food
• Clothing
• Books
• Equipment

Or any other type of equipment that can be sold or exchanged in your retail establishment.

Most modern inventory control systems involve the use of barcodes. While barcodes were originally created for grocery stores — to help simplify grocery store checkouts — they use a combination of letters and numbers in unique lines to help computers keep track of all types of inventory. An inventory control system works directly with your store’s point of sale system and uses real-time technology to keep your inventory numbers accurate.

Where Should an Inventory Tracking System Be Used?

Inventory systems should be used not only in your retail store, but in your warehouse and shipping center as well. Everything should be kept in a single database, so that when something is removed from one area, it updates the others. It formats the range from spreadsheets to computer programs.

Why Inventory Control and Barcoding Products Matters

Inventory control is part of quality control. Even if you have a small retail establishment you need to know the numbers of transactions and goods you have on hand to fill those transactions. Without an inventory control system in place, you could run out of stock of an item — including a hot sale item. Inventory control systems tell you when it is time to reorder and also can help automatically track larger shipments. You don’t have to use an automated inventory control, but your system could be set up to notify you when inventory is running low so that you can manually reorder.

Also, when you use barcoding for your inventory control, you can quickly scan items into the inventory and out of the inventory. A barcode uses a unique set of lines and spacing that tells your computer what product is being sold or added to the inventory. By using a barcode scanner; either a standalone model or a one offered by cloud based companies such as Shopify; you just point and scan — instead of manually inputting each inventory item into the system. Thus, saving you and your employees’ time.

How an Inventory System Works
Inventory control systems work by scanning a barcode into the system. The barcode scanner reads the barcode label, and the information that was encoded into that label, is sent to the point of sale system. The information is tracked and kept by your point of sale. You can use barcodes and barcode scanners not only to add inventory or create shipments, but at checkout so that customers don’t have to wait for you to manually input each item they’re purchasing.

Equipment You’ll Need for an Inventory Control System
There are many different types of inventory control systems, but at the most basic level a retailer will need:

• A Barcode Printer – This creates labels for your barcodes and receives information from your point of sale system. You’ll create a label and inventory number and the printer encodes it into a small barcode.
• A Point of Sale System – You need a point of sale system to track sales and inventory, but also to help you create barcodes.
• A Barcode Scanner – A barcode scanner must be compatible with your printer and point of sale system. This will quickly scan and decode your barcode.

Inventory control systems can help even the smallest retailers always be on point. Since you’re always competing with larger corporations, it is important that your company always have the right inventory in stock, a faster checkout process and even automated inventory control so that you can stay ahead of the game. Even if you’re just starting out, you should consider at least a point of sale system, barcode printer and barcode scanner to simplify operations.

Last updated on February 19, 2015.

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