Inventory Barcoding, Assets Tagging, Stock Taking Using A Smartphone

Tips On Streamlining Inventory Barcoding & Initial Stock Entry Using Smartphones and QR Inventory

Initial Inventory Stock Taking Challenges

You are used to manage inventory and assets using a spreadsheet or a notepad and a pen. Finally, it becomes overwhelming: things are getting lost, you cannot tell where necessary items are located, or what inventory you have on hand. You are running out of supplies in the most unfortunate moment. You do not know inventory usage trends and have trouble re-ordering the right quantities at the right time. Now you are seriously thinking about using inventory management and / or asset tracking software to bring everything in order.

Your first challenge is creating an accurate list of your existing assets and inventory, barcoding each item, and entering quantity and locations into your new inventory (assets) management software. Taking into account that you are a small business, your employees are busy with other everyday tasks and inventory quantity and locations are constantly changing, this is a real headache!

There is a traditional method of taking inventory, of course. Print out inventory list, walk with this list into a warehouse and start counting and manually writing your count against each line item, trying to add everything up as you go. News flash: you will probably never get to the end of this process, and if you do, count will be wrong anyway. This method is very time consuming, and it is very easy to mess up both while manually counting items and while entering your data to the computer. While you are doing it, inventory keeps moving in and out. To complicate the matters further, you may have multiple locations with inventory and assets, some of them remote. Chances are, you will never start using your brand new inventory management program if you follow this path.

How Do Barcodes / QR Codes and QR Inventory Software Help With Initial Stock Taking

The obvious solution to inventory problems is to:

    (a) Use inventory management or asset tracking solution with barcode scanning

    (b) Barcode inventory (using either QR Codes or UPC barcodes) first, then use barcode scanning to do initial stock entry.

This moves you a step closer to organizing your inventory fast and without errors. You can just walk around a warehouse and scan barcodes / QR codes on the items to enter initial stock for each location.

The next challenge is to barcode all existing inventory and assets. It is good if you already have manufacturer's UPC barcodes on your items and can use them for your own inventory tracking. However, often it is not the case, and you need to barcode inventory yourself.
Usually, you will print a set of QR Codes (or UPC barcodes) for each line item, then go to a warehouse or drive to a remote location and stick a QR code label to a corresponding item. It makes the process manageable, but not very convenient. Each time you want to stick a label on the item, you will need to find a QR code that matches this item.

A better solution is to pre-print a stack of QR code labels, stick any QR code label on the item, then scan QR code and associate that item with that specific code. QR Inventory software provides a way to do it: you can print QR code labels with sequential numbers, then associate a number with a specific item by scanning QR code with a smartphone. And you can enter initial stock at the same time.

How Do Smartphones Help With The Stock Taking

Barcode / QR code scanning makes initial stock taking (as well as the whole inventory management process) much easier. You no longer need to manually count items, and then enter data to the computer. Instead, you can just walk around, scan barcodes or QR codes on items and item quantity is send directly to the inventory management software. You can do it with a traditional barcode scanner or with a smartphone, however smartphones have several advantages:

  1. You do not need to be in a vicinity of the computer. This comes very handy if you need to scan and organize assets and inventory not only in the office and / or warehouse, but also in multiple other location, including remote job sites and service vans.

  2. You do not have to spend a penny on purchasing hardware -- all your employees already have smartphones in their pockets. At any location where you have assets and / or inventory an employee with a smartphone can walk around and quickly scan in all items at that location.

  3. You can enter other data that you need besides inventory count: for example, item location in the warehouse, item properties, such as expiration date, size, color, etc.

Steps To Barcode Inventory / Take Initial Stock With QR Inventory

If you are using QR Inventory for assets and inventory management, you can do inventory barcoding / initial stock taking in a few easy steps:

  1. Stick pre-printed QR code label on the item

  2. Scan QR code with a smartphone, select inventory item to associate with this label

  3. Enter quantity

  4. Optionally, enter other parameters, for example, shelf location, expiration date, size, etc.

  5. Submit item to QR Inventory

Using this method, you can barcode and take stock for all your inventory in a matter of hours and days, not months or years. Now you are ready to start tracking your assets and inventory, and always have an accurate picture of what you have in stock, where is it located, when you need to order more and how many.

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QR Inventory and QR Mobile Data are brand names of inventory management and mobile forms software by AHG -- a provider of mobile and cloud-based applications for business. Our unified mobile platform improves business operations efficiency by eliminating manual tasks and physical paperwork, while providing a secure cloud storage for the business records, real time access to business data for all stakeholders, comprehensive data reporting and analytics. Headquartered in beautiful Boise, Idaho, AHG software is used to manage hundreds of millions of dollars annually in inventory and assets.

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