Choosing the right barcode and labelling software to control your business inventory
You probably know that good barcode label software can help to streamline processes, enhance the accuracy and efficiency of business inventory management and supply chain activity, makes compliance easier and saves money.
The use of software for business inventory management and barcode labelling is a straightforward way to improve efficiency, and in this post we’ll find out how to get the best from your investment in barcode label software.
If you would like to read more about what to look for in a comprehensive labelling solution, we have worked with BarTender to publish ‘Choosing the right barcode and labelling software: 7 features to consider’.
What can barcode label software do for my business?
In a nutshell: make it more efficient and save both time and money. If you sell, store or transport anything, the automation provided by barcode label software can transform your operations and, potentially, your bottom line. It makes inventory management faster, easier and more accurate than the manual alternatives and does the same for supply chain management and tracking. The many hours previously spent manually inputting and tracking item details can now be spent on more business-focused work, and most human error is eliminated. Furthermore, you can determine the state of your inventory at a glance and arrange associated processes (such as ordering new stock) in the most efficient way.
Barcode & labelling software for multiple regulations & regions
The benefits of barcode inventory software are even greater if you operate in multiple markets or sectors, particularly where these are heavily regulated (for example, pharmaceuticals, automotive or catering) or wherever strict rules apply to the use of barcodes. If you choose software for inventory management with barcode generator or integration with existing barcode-generating capabilities, you can use template allocation to automate compliant and accurate labelling for all units, according to the market or item involved.
This can be exceptionally useful, especially if you have to cope with multiple regulations simultaneously across a large product range.
If regulatory compliance is a concern, you should also make sure your software has secure document access and printing (to evade cyber threats) and that it can manage both traceability and serialisation. And since many regulations are updated and change frequently, it must be designed to cope with evolving demand.
Does the solution work with the systems you already have?
Clearly, you won’t get the best from barcode and labelling software if it can’t talk to your warehousing, enterprise resource planning or custom-built/web-based applications! Once you find software that does achieve this, however, you can feed inventory and supply chain information into the whole-business data supply, which helps you to make well-informed and optimal business decisions that increase the efficiency of the whole enterprise. With data rapidly becoming the key to business success, this is an important capability.
Integration also matters in terms of day-to-day work. If you are already producing barcodes via software (e.g. through Excel or a business accounting package) then you can save a lot of inconvenience and risk by choosing barcode and labelling management software that can integrate these.
Scalability of barcode label software
Whatever stage your business is at, barcode label software is an investment and you’ll want it to scale and flex with your own growth and/or diversification. Modular systems are good for this; alternatively, some suppliers offer a range of packages (e.g. start-up, small business, SME/enterprise and large enterprise options) and help you to move through these as required.
While it may be tempting to buy at the cheapest level (especially if your business is very new), when the time comes to scale up or diversify the inconvenience, upheaval and risk involved can be substantial. Your staff (and your blood pressure!) will thank you if movement between levels or systems is seamless.
Is it easy to use barcode label software?
When it’s done well, barcode label management becomes an integral part of the whole-business overview and data, but don’t forget the staff who will have to use it on a daily basis (and this includes staff at other sites or organisations, who may have to read and act upon your barcode data). Ease of use is important, but it goes way beyond the simple actions of labelling and tracking items. If your staff hit a problem, does your supplier offer ample back-up and tech support? If someone calls at four in the morning from the other side of the world because there’s a problem with your labelling, can you direct them to online resources or training, or to a chat feature and/or online community?
You should also consider training: is this going to be an extra expense, or does the vendor provide sufficient resources and deployment support?
Security of inventory and warehousing data
With thousands of new cyber threats being launched weekly, no business can afford to leave its precious inventory and warehousing data unsecured. Any breach can affect your entire supply chain (and may leave you liable) which can be disastrous in both financial and reputational terms. Security may also form part of your regulatory compliance duties.
At the very least you need document encryption, robust permission management, constant surveillance and immediate alerts when any anomaly occurs. However, some packages offer this and more, and security should always be a priority when purchasing new software.
Where can I find out more?
Please check out our pages on barcode labelling for business: also, we have recently worked with BarTender by Seagull Scientific on a guide, ‘Choosing the right barcode and labelling software: 7 features to consider’, which you may find helpful.