Warehouse Scanning: Important Things You Should Know

Nick Mirev
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    Large companies know the importance of smooth warehouse scanning and how crucial it is for an efficient warehouse management process. That’s why business owners are eager to keep track of the latest technological developments in the field of warehouse control systems and scanning solutions. Having impeccable warehousing processes gives businesses the opportunity to scale and maximize profits. In this article, we’ll shed some light on the topic of warehouse scanning.

    Key takeaway: Warehouse scanning is an important process for most businesses that store goods. It helps improve accuracy and increase efficiency. Although there are multiple reasons to invest in modern warehouse scanning solutions, there are a few drawbacks as well. The main one is that these systems can be expensive and hard to implement. 

    What Is Warehouse Scanning

    Warehouse scanning is the process of using various solutions in a warehouse to scan the items in stock. One of the most common ways to do it is by manual barcode scanning in the warehouse. However, as warehousing technologies have improved significantly in the past decade, there are multiple ways to automate the process.

    The main reason why companies introduce warehouse scanning when they grow is that it improves efficiency and the overall management of logistics and inventory. One of the warehouse management tips is to accurately scan and manage the inventory. This helps businesses run smooth operations and maintain steady stock levels.

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    Warehouse Scanning Equipment

    Although many new solutions have emerged thanks to the latest technological advances, there are two major types of warehouse scanners. Let’s briefly see what they are.

    1. Barcode scanners. These devices use image sensors or lasers to translate graphical representation of data to numbers and symbols. In most warehouses, you’ll see handheld manual scanners
    2. RFID readers. The main benefit of these scanners is that they don’t require a direct line of sight to read the tag. Furthermore, using radio frequency identification (RFID) means that you can store more information. That makes them suitable for businesses with a high number of products.
    3. Other scanners. As businesses strive to automate some of the processes in their warehouse, there’s an increasing demand for new and autonomous warehouse scanning solutions. In recent years companies find suppliers of warehouse robots, drones, and other solutions that can scan items autonomously.

    Warehouse Scanning Steps

    In general, the warehouse scanning process can be reduced to a couple of steps.

    1. Receiving. As goods arrive in the warehouse, they need to be assigned a unique code or tag. The information on these barcodes or tags is scanned and stored.
    2. Storing. Modern solutions choose the optimal location for each item based on size, weight, and other factors. The storage location is also scanned when the item is placed there.
    3. Picking and shipping. After an order has been made, the items are located with the help of a warehouse scanning device. They are then packed and shipped.
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    Advantages of Warehouse Scanning Systems

    There are multiple reasons why businesses invest in modern warehouse scanning technology. Here are the advantages of implementing a warehouse system once your business starts scaling.

    1. Accuracy and efficiency. Scanning software reduces the chances of human errors. Furthermore, technology also helps accelerate processes significantly. Whether it’s receiving new items or fulfilling orders, it’s done quicker thanks to warehousing scanning technology.
    2. Inventory tracking. Having accurate information about the inventory is crucial for many businesses. The easiest way to achieve that is through implementing a reliable scanning system.
    3. Technology integration. Warehouse scanning software is only as good as the other systems in a business. Integrating all warehouse systems with the ERP or inventory management software helps in using the full capabilities of these systems.
    4. Improved productivity. Automating the data capture process allows businesses to allocate human resources for more important and value-added tasks.
    5. Better traceability. Businesses trading with food products need to answer to higher standards in the field of traceability. Therefore, having a traceability system is a must for companies in this sector. Warehouse scanning helps these businesses comply with regulations in the sector.
    6. Preparedness for future technological developments. If you lag behind competitors in terms of technology, it will be much different for your business to maintain its place on the market. Therefore, it’s important to keep up and invest in modern technological solutions in the field of warehousing.

    What Does “Warehouse Scan” Mean

    People that use the services of UPS for shipping and receiving items will often receive a notification that the status of their package is “warehouse scan”. That status indicates that the package has arrived in a UPS warehouse and will soon continue its journey. When it comes to international shipments, the status “warehouse scan” means that the package is about to undergo customs clearance before it’s sent to the receiver.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Warehouse Scanning

    Although most business owners and managers are familiar with the processes involved in a warehouse, new solutions see the light of day frequently. That’s why below we’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions on the topic of warehouse scanning. Hopefully, this will help you in your endeavors of optimizing your warehousing processes and achieving better efficiency and accuracy.

    What Are Other Warehouse Inventory Management Processes?

    There are multiple ways to manage the inventory in a warehouse. Besides warehouse scanning, there are other processes that can be implemented and improved.

    1. Layout optimization. Creating an optimal layout can increase the staff productivity and overall efficiency. 
    2. Inventory tracking. Investing in warehouse inventory management software is crucial for businesses in the eCommerce field and companies that need various raw materials to operate.

    What Is Warehouse Automation?

    Advancements in AI and robotics have sparked a lot of innovations in the field of warehousing, shipping, and handling. Large businesses invest in various warehouse automation. Here are a few examples.

    1. Automated sortation systems. These conveyor systems identify and sort products They use a variety of sensors and warehouse scanning tools.
    2. Automatic guided vehicles. They follow a predetermined path and are suitable for straightforward warehouse settings. These robots are not suitable for warehouses with a lot of human traffic and complex processes.
    3. Autonomous mobile robots. These robots are more efficient than guided vehicles. They can process paths and self-learn in real time. They can safely operate in large warehouses and with human employees.
    4. Drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles are becoming more popular in the field of cargo deliveries. They can also be equipped with sensors and barcode scanners.

    What Are the Disadvantages of Warehouse Scanning?

    Although there are multiple pros of warehouse scanning and investing in warehouse inventory management, there are drawbacks as well. Here are some of them.

    1. Upfront costs. Implementing warehouse scanning equipment and a warehouse management system can have a high implementation cost. That’s why it’s not suitable for every business. Small companies might find it difficult to pay the upfront costs of purchasing the warehousing software and inventory scanners.
    2. Dependency on technology. Overdependence on technology is expected to become a problem in the next decades. That’s why businesses need to have backup systems and contingency plans when it comes to their warehouse inventory process.
    3. Complexity. Implementing a warehouse scanning process or a modern solution like smart warehousing can be challenging for a business. The staff needs to undergo various training sessions and regular troubleshooting needs to be done. Complex warehouse scanning and management systems are suitable only for specific businesses.
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