We already established that using a barcode system for inventory management is an effective solution to save time and reduce human errors. Megaventory allows you to create your own barcodes, customize their labels and print them with little effort. Now we’ll give you some tips on how to find the best barcode scanner for your business’ inventory tracking.
What is a barcode scanner and what you can use it for
A barcode scanner is a device that uses a beam of light to capture and read the data stored in a barcode. It is connected to a computer through a cable or wireless signal. It’s then possible to decode and interpret the sequence of bars and empty spaces that comprise the barcode.
If you are looking for a complete guide on barcodes and how they can be generated with Megaventory, we suggest you take a look at this article.
If we talk about inventory management, a barcode scanner can help you register and track product information more efficiently across multiple locations. You can also invoice customers and manage returns more seamlessly. Another great advantage is decreasing human error in the process of registering, tracking, and moving inventory (whether internally or to external recipients).
Things to consider when buying a barcode scanner for inventory management
1. The types of barcodes you are using
There are two types of barcodes, each with its own advantages and limits.
The first one is the linear barcode (1D). It stores the basic information you may need for manufacturing, commerce, and logistics. Scanners designed for 1D codes need to be held straight against the barcodes so that they can work efficiently.
The other is two-dimensional (2D), which means that it stores significantly more information than the other. In spite of that, it is not as widespread because it requires more advanced scanning devices that are more costly. Those have the ability to read data faster and they work even for irregular surfaces. On top of that, they can read 1D codes regardless of the orientation they are positioned in.
As previously mentioned, barcode readers must be connected to a computer that translates the data into coherent information. This can be done through a USB or wireless connection. Using a USB cable is the more reliable solution since the data is transferred with no interference.
Although a scanner with wireless connectivity is more expensive, you can handle it easier. In addition, this type of device usually has a greater range, making it a more convenient option.
3. The purpose it needs to fulfil
You also need to take into account the context in which you’ll use the scanner. Depending on what you want to achieve, different features and characteristics are necessary.
Tracking inventory in a warehouse, for one, may require devices that can be used with more flexibility. That means the barcode readers should have a wider scanning range and a structure that allows them to be handheld.
On the other hand, using the barcode scanner in your small retail store or simply when shipping them out is not so demanding. So you can look for a stationary scanner, which is more precise, reliable, and efficient.
4. Where you want to use it
Depending on the location where you plan to use the scanner, you may need to look out for any disruptive factors such as dust, low or strong light, level of humidity, etc. For heavy-duty use, especially in harsh industrial conditions, it is advised to use a more rugged option. Some scanners are designed to be shockproof and completely sealed against dust and moisture.
5. The cost
Sometimes it all comes down to cost because you can’t have a device with many features without paying extra. So the best solution is to evaluate what you need the most and what are those nice-to-have options that you may or may not use. The least expensive option is more simple-structured devices, with limited capabilities. Pen wired scanners are a good example of this. They have no movable parts and must be used in a restricted, very specific way. But they are suitable for tighter budgets.
At the same time, depending on your business sector, it may prove useful for you to invest in a more durable and reliable device. In a manufacturing environment, the conditions may be too harsh for an average scanner. So you may not find it beneficial to replace it every couple of weeks. Scanner guns seem to be the more cost-efficient option. They allow for some degree of efficiency in terms of scanning range and accuracy under different conditions. And they are positioned at a lower price-point than those designed for industrial purposes or retail.
But in the end, you should consider whether investing in a more sophisticated scanner would benefit your business more than the cheaper option.
We hope that these tips will come in handy when you’re ready to start using a barcode scanner for inventory management. Megaventory is ready to support this and we provided a series of guidelines in our Knowledge Base.
Ștefania Bulgaru is a Digital Marketer for Megaventory, the online inventory management system that can help medium-sized companies synchronize stock over multiple stores. She believes that good communication can solve almost any problem and she likes to stay up to date with the latest digital marketing technologies.