The typical warehouse or factory may have thousands or even millions of assets to track and manage. To streamline work processes and help control costs, many businesses have implemented inventory management software and hardware tools. Among these, inventory barcode labels are a common choice for tagging assets. These labels can be scanned with supported hardware and used along with a centralized asset management software platform.
Barcode labels and tags are an important part of inventory management systems because they can be customized to meet specific needs. This flexibility makes them a popular choice in industries of all types. To choose the best label for each application, it’s important to review factors such as label size, scanning distance, and hardware compatibility. In this post, we’ll review exactly what you need to know before purchasing inventory barcode labels.
Benefits of Inventory Barcode Labels
Managing inventory with barcode labels is one of the best ways to ensure accurate counting and maintain a reliable inventory system. These labels facilitate the use of automatic identification and data capture technology that can improve maintenance and inventory activities. Before implementing a complete inventory management solution, consider the following benefits of using barcode labels and how they may impact your operation.
- Reduced Costs. By reducing the need to perform manual inventory counts, barcode labels can help maximize resources. Since these labels can be used with a centralized ERP, CMMS, or EAM software platform, there are many other potential benefits, as well, such as streamlining documentation, reporting, and accounting processes. Additional cost savings can be gained from workflow automation, streamlined maintenance management, and more efficient order and shipment processing.
- Inventory Accuracy. Inventory barcode labels can be attached to any item as a durable and reliable marking. With proper training for your warehouse and factory staff, you can increase the accuracy of inventory counts with standardized work processes that involve scanning. In addition to individual item tags, there are also options available for labeling pallets, totes, and returnable containers. By combining these tools and technologies, you can easily scale your inventory and asset management program to meet your unique needs.
- Efficient Processing. In order to process inventory through a facility, employees must also manage billing, shipment, and logistics needs. With a dedicated barcode placed on each inventory item, you can easily track order information. This data can be stored digitally within your software system and shared among your staff and logistics partners.
Common Uses for Inventory Barcode Labels
Inventory barcode labels can be used in a number of different ways depending upon the specific business or industry. To maximize the value you get from the labels, you should always consider how each work process could benefit from the label design. Some of the most common use cases for inventory barcode tags and labels are:
- Inventory management
- Order management
- Delivery scheduling
- Parts management
- Batch and lot tracking
- Shipment tracking
The unique barcode identifier associated with each label makes it easy to track inventory across multiple sites or geographic locations. When planning your inventory label purchase, always consider how these labels will be used and if there are any specific needs among your locations that should be taken into account.
Inventory Barcode Label Customization
Perhaps the most important consideration when buying new labels is how to customize them and maximize your return on investment. You should also consider any inventory control requirements within your industry or regulatory concerns that must be addressed. Inventory labels may be used as a reference point for order, inventory, maintenance, and asset management needs.
There are over 30 major barcode formats that can be used on inventory barcode labels. Choosing a proper barcode will often depend on system compatibility and inventory management requirements. There are three primary types of barcode symbologies, including numeric, alpha-numeric, and 2-dimensional barcode symbologies. Each barcode symbology has a unique format.
The scanning hardware you use must be compatible with your chosen barcode symbology. You may also experience limitations in the type or format of data that can be entered into your facilities management platform. In addition, you may need to choose between prefabricated inventory labels or label blanks that can be modified onsite. One common use case for label blanks is for work-in-progress builds that require labels to be updated frequently or periodically. You can reduce your overall investment by purchasing a larger volume of labels, so upfront planning to determine the volume of labels you require is time well spent.
Choosing inventory barcode labels is a simple process with proper planning. By following some of the best practices outlined above, you can ensure that your inventory tags will be fully compatible with your systems and optimized for your work processes. Inventory barcode labels are an excellent choice for operations of all sizes and can be scaled to meet your expanding business’s needs.