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Inventory System Overview
A complete guide to what an inventory system is, how it works, and the benefits users receive.
What is an Inventory System?
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An inventory system combines desktop software, barcode scanners, barcode labels, and mobile devices to streamline the tracking of inventory (e.g. consumables, goods, SKUs, supplies, etc.) as product flows through a warehouse environment. This could be a single stockroom or multiple warehouses spread across the country.
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How Inventory Control Works
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At its core, inventory control works by tracking two main functions of your stockroom or warehouse — receiving (incoming) and shipping (outgoing). Inventory control also includes tracking movement, relocation, raw materials (decremented) and finished goods (incremented). Physical inventory counts may be utilized for accurate tracking of inventory levels as well.
Common Inventory Applications
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Popular System Functionality Print barcode labels Create purchase orders Receive, relocate Create sales orders Pick/Issue, dispose Physical inventory counts and cycle counts Create, run, schedule and share reports
Warehouses Stockrooms and supply rooms Distribution Offices and classrooms Facilities management Light manufacturing Work-In-Progress
Benefits of an inventory system The goal of inventory control is to accurately know current inventory levels and minimize understock and overstock situations. Whether you are tracking inventory used to perform a service or sold to customers, a barcode inventory solution provides staff accountability and minimizes inventory stockouts and shrinkage. By efficiently tracking quantities across stocking locations you’ll have insight and be able to make smarter inventory decisions. An inventory system provides the necessary knowledge both for the warehouse worker to perform daily tasks and management to have product and financial insight.
Improve Your Bottom Line You'll spend less time on inventory stock control, and reduce understock and overstock.
Improve Accuracy Eliminate data entry errors by using mobile barcode scanners to scan stock item barcodes.
Improve Company Workflow Share inventory data with colleagues and standardize inventory control tasks.
Know What You Have The starting point to knowing what you have in an inventory management system is to identify what you're tracking. Most product has a part number, SKU, catalog number, or something similar, but not always is that identifier a scannable barcode. That is why barcode labels exist, you can print your own for placing in the stocking location (just one barcode label needed) or per part (multiple barcode labels needed.) Once you've got a method for easily identifying what is coming and going you're well on your way to knowing what you have.
Does Everyone Perform Inventory Management the Same Way? Everyone performs inventory control differently! Yes the core idea is the same but the details are what makes one system different from another. Systems need to be configurable to some extent, meaning they are suitable for a broad range of inventory and business environments. You can create your own inventory solution that is right for you by personalizing certain aspects.
If a warehouse employee is only responsible for receiving inventory and relocating it, admins can set role based permissions and interface settings to simplify workflow for this user and prevent unauthorized access.
Your warehouse may not be generating the purchase orders (PO’s) or may not need to receive against them in the software. System configuration allows this functionality to be turned off. This means there won't be a PO area in the user interface, nor will there be a PO data field onscreen when receiving inventory.
Some teams need their system to include features such as cost tracking and reorder management, while others require multi location and serialized inventory tracking, others may only need the barcoding and mobile device capabilities. Our system allows you to include only the features that you need.
SKUs, Stock, and Inventory Inventory represents a business’s stocked goods or materials, this can be raw materials or finished goods. The terms SKU, stock and inventory are often used interchangeably. You can think of inventory as raw materials that are consumed when building an assembly, supplies to do a job, inputs in a production process, or finished goods or products sold to customers. Typically, inventory is stored in a warehouse or storage area and the basic three attributes to identifytracked by location, SKU, and quantity. Batch or lot numbers are often used to track perishable inventory items, such as food or medications, in groups based on expiration or production dates. In addition, inventory such as parts and components can be tracked by serial numbers.
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