With the increase in eCommerce trade, various businesses have invested in the integration of warehouse scanning systems. These solutions help with warehouse inventory management and minimize the risk of human error and inventory loss. Warehouse scanning and inventory management systems are a must for businesses that want to grow and scale. In this blog article, we’ll shed some light on the main features of these solutions as well as the factors that need to be considered when choosing between warehouse scanning systems. Make sure to also check out our guide with warehouse management tips.
What Are Warehouse Scanning Systems?
A warehouse scanning system is a combination of technologies and solutions that help businesses streamline various warehouse operations. These systems combine hardware devices such as barcode scanners, software solutions like warehouse inventory management software, and the inventory database of a business. One of the main advantages of warehouse scanning systems is that they can be integrated with other systems within a business. This significantly improves processes like shipping and handling. Additionally, integrated warehouse scanning systems also help with financial predictions, accounting, labor management, and various other processes. Here are the main components of these solutions.
- Item identification and scanning devices. Depending on the technology used, these identifiers and devices can vary. The most popular options are barcode and RFID. Implementation of barcode technology is cheaper compared to RFID. However, the main benefit of RFID is that it can scan items even without a line of sight.
- Software solutions. After the scanning devices have read the identification tag on the item, the information is sent to the warehouse management system. The communication is usually done via Wi-Fi.
- Database. The other major component of warehousing scanning systems is the database. It’s where all the relevant data is stored. Modern software solutions include various possibilities for reports based on the gathered data. The database is often integrated with other systems like the ERP.
Key takeaway: A warehouse scanning system combines scanning equipment with software and a database. It helps regulate most processes in a warehouse and assists businesses with various tasks like monitoring par levels, doing warehouse audits, and automating the scanning process.
Functions of Warehouse Scanning Systems
These solutions have multiple functionalities and play a major role in various warehousing processes. Let’s examine some of them.
- Item receiving. Upon arrival, products are scanned and a suitable location is determined. Usually, high-demand products are at the most easy-to-reach locations.
- Picking and packing. When preparing products to be shipped, the warehouse scanning system ensures that the right goods are packed.
- Audits. Regular audits and inventory counts are important to make sure you operate with the right data.
- Scanning before shipping. Thanks to warehouse scanning systems, order verification can be easily performed to minimize errors and inaccuracies.
Advantages of Warehouse Scanning Systems
Easier Flow of Goods
The main reason why businesses invest in a warehouse scanning system is that it helps for hassle-free inventory management. In addition, the software also assists managers in generating reports and making data-driven decisions.
Scanning also helps reduce human error to a minimum. Items are scanned when they enter the warehouse and then when they are prepared for shipping. Thus, the staff can rely on the system to help them double-check orders.
In order to maximize revenue, companies need to reduce labor costs and improve their business processes. A warehouse scanning system can help a lot in that regard. Although it can be a costly investment, it will pay for itself in time.
Product Tracking in Real Time
A major benefit of modern warehousing software solutions is that data is updated in real-time. This is especially useful during busy seasons when a lot of orders are processed. Furthermore, managers and other decision-makers in the business can rely on this dependable tracking system. Tracking also assists in supply chain management transparency which can be extremely useful for clients.
Factors for Picking a Warehouse Scanning System
It’s important to keep in mind that not all businesses need a warehouse scanning system. Small enterprises can either use free software solutions and invest in cheap scanning equipment or outsource the whole warehousing and logistics process. Only companies that have enough sales and products need to research different warehouse scanning systems. Here are some factors to keep in mind when picking such a solution.
- Integration with other software. When picking software or scanning devices, it’s crucial they can be integrated with the current processes in the company.
- Connectivity and requirements. Different systems have miscellaneous requirements regarding servers or other hardware components. Currently, most companies choose to benefit from cloud-based warehouse scanning systems. However, if your business has good IT infrastructure and reliable system administrators, you might opt for a self-hosted solution.
- Customer service. Implementing a warehouse scanning system can be a challenging process. That’s why you need to rely on the expertise of a trustworthy software provider who can also assist with any customer service needed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Warehouse Scanning Systems
As with most things in life, solutions in the field of warehousing scanning advance rapidly. That’s why even seasoned entrepreneurs might have questions about these solutions. The BlueCart team has gathered and answered some of the commonly asked questions below.
What Are the Common Types of Warehouse Scanning Equipment?
In recent years, a lot of research and development has been done in the field of warehouse scanning. There are multiple solutions on the market and they all have their benefits and disadvantages. Here are some of the popular types of scanning equipment.
- Laser scanners. They can read only one-dimensional (1D) barcodes.
- Image scanners. They also read 1D barcodes but they are more durable than laser scanners.
- 2D scanners. They are more versatile and quicker.
- Pen scanners. They are a cheap and durable option. These scanners can be connected with barcode scanner apps for inventory. They are suitable for small businesses that do limited scanning.
- Other types of scanners. Although the aforementioned options are the most common ones, there are multiple solutions for RFID and barcode scanning in a warehouse. In recent years, automated options like robots and drones have been rising in popularity. Technologies like RFID, NFC, and Bluetooth also become more widely used.
What Will Be the Future of Warehouse Scanning Systems?
As technologies change rapidly, it’s certain that smart warehousing will become more popular. It’s expected that manual tasks such as scanning will be fully automated. In fact, there are currently solutions like drones that can almost completely automate this process.
In addition to automation, data optimization is also expected to play an important role in warehousing. As the amount of data collected by businesses increases, optimizing it will be crucial.
Sustainability is also important for businesses. Installing solar panels on roofs is a popular green policy for warehouses. Eco-friendly policies can be used in a company’s marketing efforts and they can reduce energy costs.
What Software Is Used in Warehousing?
Technological advancements automate various processes in warehouses. That’s why businesses invest in these innovations. Here are popular types of software used in warehousing.
- Warehouse management system. A modern WMS helps with overall flow management in a warehouse.
- ERP. This is crucial software for companies with multiple departments. It helps connect all processes in one big database. Thus, it’s used not only for warehouse inventory management but also for processes like accounting and staff management.
- Warehouse execution system. Thanks to warehouse control systems and execution systems, business owners and managers can optimize resources efficiently. These systems are also used for the control of robots and other warehouse technologies.