The growing Ecommerce business sooner or later leads to the fact that we run out of time and we are looking for solutions that will help us speed up our work and automate the resulting processes.
Thanks to Barcode Scanner, you can fully automate the process of collecting and packing products, checking order and product information, and identifying the content of packages. The correct scanner implementation in your business will significantly speed up the entire sales process.
In this article, we will focus on all the most important automations of the sales process where we can use a barcode scanner. They should give you significant benefits in the form of time savings and maximizing the number of orders handled.
So let’s dive into all aspects of these automations and reveal their full potential in Your business.
How can a business use barcode technology to make the company more efficient?
The use of bar codes in sales wherever possible significantly speeds up the entire process of accepting products on stock, collecting products, packaging, and shipments.
You only have to properly arrange processes and train employees and all tedious activities performed in the warehouse will become a thing of the past.
By using barcode scanners, You are able to significantly reduce packaging time and this is what we will focus on the most.
Fast Receiving and Replenishing goods to the Warehouse
Manual receiving and replenishing of goods in the warehouse requires employees to search the system for products by name, product code, or category. Even if they had a purchase invoice in their hand, it would still take them a long time to identify which product they are holding in their hand.
In the case when a whole truckload of products arrives at the warehouse, this job could take a whole day.
Let’s introduce a barcode scanner into this process. Beforehand, we need to prepare a Sales or Warehouse software so that all UPC or EAN codes of the products that will come to us are included in the database.
What’s more, we can set the software so that it enters the data of products that have not been in our stock before. Such solutions are available in PIM (Product Information Management) systems. This is possible thanks to connections with databases of manufacturers who are more and more willing to share product databases nowadays.
After preparing the software, it is enough for the employee to scan each product that enters the warehouse. He doesn’t even have to count them if he scans each of them in turn. It can also do it in packages.
At this point, our stock is growing, new product data is added and any deviations from the ordered quantities are noted and we have the opportunity to react immediately.
How to improve picking speed and accuracy in E-commerce Warehouse
Picking List will be very helpful at this stage. This is a list of orders that the employee must print or receive before starting to collect products.
On a picking list, there are printed barcodes of products that the employee should pack for a given order.
We can set the system so that after scanning all products from a given order, shipping labels and receipts or invoices are automatically printed.
We can delay the printing stage if the Picker has to hand over the products to the packer. Then this next person has to scan the barcode on the order so that the system knows that they are now packing that particular order.
What about products that do not have barcodes or are hard to find?
In this case, we must prepare the warehouse in advance and print the barcode of the product and then place it on the rack in a visible place. Instead of scanning the code directly on the product, the employee can scan the code from the rack.
Automatic Packing Errors and Mistakes Check
There is one very useful side effect in the picking and packing process with the barcode scanner we discussed in the previous paragraph. The system will immediately detect whether the employee has scanned the right product and if he made a mistake, it will display an error or simply the label will not be printed.
In this way, we reduce the number of complaints due to an incorrectly shipped product. This type of “Human-Mistake filter” function can be used by you at almost every stage of sales and production.
And speaking of production, it is a commonly used control method in which to take a mounting element from the shelf and attach it to the target device on the assembly line, you must first scan the barcode. The scanner will immediately detect the incorrectly selected one. Thanks to this, an employee will not accidentally install the wrong component in your car, washing machine, or refrigerator.
However, the purpose of “Best For Ecommerce” blog was to focus on E-commerce sales – which, willy-nilly, is seamlessly connected with processes in the warehouse, supply chain and often also with Production processes.
Ok, but let’s go back to online sale. The activities in which you can use the correctness check by scanning the code are:
- Selecting a product from the shelf during product picking
- Packing products by an Employee
- Periodic Inventory Check
- Receiving and Replenishing goods to the warehouse from the manufacturer
Automatic tracking of expiration dates
Another aspect in which a barcode scanner can speed up your work is checking the expiry date of products.
In the case of products that have an expiration date in a visible place, the benefits are unnoticeable. However, in the case of products that are packaged or are in large collective containers, it is easier and faster to approach the rack and scan the barcode, obtaining this information from the sales program.
Automation of Periodic Inventory Checks with a Barcode Scanner
When preparing a periodic inventory check, you have practically two options to choose from. One is manual counting and finding the counted product on a printed list, which also generates the need to later enter these quantities into the system by the employee. This solution is a waste of time.
The second, more effective way is to run the Inventory check procedure in the warehouse software using a barcode scanner. These types of programs give you the ability to input product quantities interactively.
During such counting of products, you can simply scan every barcode you have at hand, and the system will count itself how many times you scanned the product, or simply scan the first product on the shelf, which will activate the edition of the quantity of this product in your system. Then you just need to count the products and enter the number into the system.
It avoids searching for products by name in an infinite product table and protects you from making a mistake.
If you do not have a warehouse program such as ERP, PIM or CRM, you can always use google sheets for this purpose, which can be largely automated. But that’s a topic for another article.
A quick check of ready-to-ship package content
This type of automation is helpful in a few specific cases. Imagine that for some reason an employee forgot to put all the products into the package and packed the package giving a shipping label. Or just after packing the product, the customer bought something else in your online store and asks for shipping in one package.
If you have 5 packed packages, it will probably not be a problem, but if there are 100 packages on the pallet, then a dilemma arises – Which package is it?
A simple solution is to use a barcode scanner and scan the barcode on the shipping label. If you enable this option beforehand, the program should display the contents of the scanned package and order data. Thanks to this, you can quickly identify the package you are looking for.
This is a seemingly trivial matter if you run a small business and do not have many employees. However, when sales are growing and there are more people working for Your company, it is sometimes worth knowing who packed a given package or received a given product from a supplier.
Thanks to the fact that after scanning the barcode, the sales or warehouse system records events in the Timestamp memory, you can easily check, for example, who collected the product on a given day, packed a given package, or accepted the goods.
It may not seem to be related to safety, but the mere awareness of the possibility of checking such things will often stop dishonest employees from “abuses”.
We also know exactly who is responsible for a given event related to products and we can trace the course of events in a conflict or uncertain situation in the company.
BARCODE ACCESS CONTROL
This automation in our mind is more associated with the VIP entrance, but nothing could be further from the truth. Very often this solution is used to control the working time of our employees.
If you equip your workplace with gates that allow employees to pass only after scanning their individual barcode (they can also be replaced with a chip), then from that moment the number of hours worked by employees is collected in a table that you can conveniently analyze and use for various purposes.
In addition, you also protect the company against unwanted guests and visits by employees outside working hours.
Can barcode scanning be automated?
If we are talking about automation with a barcode scanner, maybe we should go a step further and automate the scanning process itself.
That’s what scanning stations are for – Just like in the cash registers where you shop in a shopping mall. Another solution may be omnidirectional scanners, which send the beam in many directions. Thanks to this, the employee does not have to aim precisely at the small barcode, which speeds up the whole process.
If you find a use for them, you can take the scanning process to a higher level and speed up the scanning process even more.
The examples of automation with a barcode scanner quoted here are not the only examples and you will surely find many more applications that depend on the given industry. Start with basic implementations and gradually add more sophisticated ones and you will see significant benefits and savings from it.