There are lots of things to love about being a small business owner. You get to set your own hours (even if that sometimes means you have to work all weekend and all through the night) and you get to have financial independence (as long as you stay on top of the trends and carefully monitor your business) It’s a rough but rewarding life as a while. There’s one thing, though, that doesn’t offer the same kind of immediate rewards and favors as the other tasks that come with running your own business: doing inventory. Do you have to do it? Yes. Is it fun? Never. This is the sort of task that’s generally the first to get delegated once you start bringing more employees on board. However, there is still a certain risk to it. Your inventory is every tangible part of your business, and you need to keep that accounted for. That’s why barcodes are such an amazing innovation for even small business inventory management and bookkeeping. Applying barcodes to inventory items and bulk orders will keep things sleek and simple for you and your staff. Here are three ways specifically that barcodes are going to make your inventory better.
Syncs Your Brick and Mortar and Online Stores
Hospitals have started using barcodes to improve all aspects of patient care. Scanned codes will update a patient’s file so that any doctor can check and see which tests have been performed, which results aren’t in yet, and which nurses and doctors are also looking after this one patient, lists Barcode Discount. While it’s imperative to get things right for medicine (literally life and death), it’s also important to get things settled in your own store. Almost every brick and mortar store has a place on the World Wide Web these days, which means that you’ve got inventory listed in two places. One of the most common ways to manage inventory is to simply place an online ordering cap; if you have 5 red hats (for example) and you sell 3 of them online, they go off the market online so that you don’t accidentally sell the last two twice, once online and once in person. Having to correct mistakes of this nature can really take a toll on a business’s reputation. Syncing between the two every time an item is scanned in your brick and mortar store means that you don’t have to use inventory pools or sales caps; you just have to make sure that every item scans in the brick and mortar store.
Less Room for Human Error
No store is perfect, and unfortunately there is no way to completely prevent it. Even the greats fall down sometimes, and even a well trained staff will make mistakes. The key is to simply aim for making these once in a while instances of lapse, and not a full time problem that you need to tackle every day. Human error is the bane of every store’s existence. The majority of clerk time is taken up by carefully reading packing and correcting data that was entered incorrectly, according to the Houston Chronicle. If your workers routinely handle large product volumes either inventorying, selling, or shipping it would drastically cut down on both time spent and mistakes made to simply upgrade your system to using a mobile barcode scanner offered by Shopify, which takes three or four seconds at most to read a label, and often much less.
Helps Prevent Theft and Shoplifting
Barcodes are the best way to cut down on in-house theft, as they allow you to track inventory at all times. You can pinpoint exactly when an item fell off the grid, and locate the responsible parties. Often, just knowing that a barcoding policy has been implemented is enough to get people who were just committing crimes of opportunity to keep their hands to themselves, declares Barcode Discount. Any decrease in inventory loss is going to be a victory for your company.
However, they’re not only good for in-house theft. Barcodes can also discourage shoplifting, as many would-be culprits don’t know whether an item with a barcode is also safety locked so that it can’t leave the store without setting off an alarm. In addition, it drives home that this really is theft. If you sell handmade goods, for example, adding a simple barcode instead of a hand lettered tag is saving you money and reminding the customers that this item is really for sale. Things that look more official are stolen less frequently.
In addition to removing human error and other mistakes from your inventory process, barcoding can stop items from walking off the shelves. This one step to curbing in-house and outside theft is amazing; even more so the fact that it will also help you see where the lags are in your system by syncing with your online store.