How to Barcode Your Warehouse: A How-To Guide

How to Barcode Your Warehouse: A How-To Guide

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Significant challenges for manufacturers—including supply chain disruption, staffing shortages, and rising prices for raw materials—have been rapidly growing over the past couple of years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has kicked them into overdrive. What’s more, changes in consumer behavior such as an increase in-ecommerce sales have heavily affected warehouses everywhere. Now, more than ever, it is vital to improve efficiency, increase accuracy, and gain visibility in your warehouse. So, how can your warehouse remain competitive in this ever-changing business environment?

To be competitive, many organizations are modernizing their warehouses through barcode scanning. In the webinar, “How to improve efficiency by modernizing your warehouse”—hosted by SYSPRO Canada and presented by riteSOFT—attendees were presented with a poll question and the results were surprising. Forty seven percent of attendees answered, “less than 10%” when asked, “What percentage of your inventory is barcoded?” If this is similar to your warehouse, there is no need to worry because we have created a step-by-step guide on how to implement barcodes in your warehouse.

What percentage of your inventory is barcoded poll

Why Are Barcodes Important in Your Warehouse?

Improved Accuracy

While there are many reasons organizations barcode their warehouses, one of the most important is that it improves inventory accuracy. Manual data entry often results in incorrect inventory information which causes frustration on the part of customers and employees alike. On average, humans make one error for every 300 characters. This leads to inaccurate inventory levels, unnecessary reorders, and potential stockouts.

Standardized Workflows for Validation and Label Printing

Data validation begins with the use of barcodes and label printing automation throughout warehouse operations. Barcodes help validate stock codes, location, lot numbers, serial numbers, and much more. This improves operator performance and picking accuracy. Barcoding your warehouse and using warehouse software like riteSCAN allows transactions to be validated right at the point where the physical movement or the picking process occurs. This means that if you scan a stock code that is not on the order, the system will prevent you from picking that item.

Increased Time and Visibility

When you manually receive or pick items, the lack of real-time information can add up to a lot of wasted time. You can’t see what’s truly available or happening in the warehouse. Barcode scans help reduce these types of bottlenecks especially during stock takes. One of the fastest ways to eliminate wasted time—and achieve a return on investment on your software—is the time and disruption you can save on your stock takes.

How Do You Get Started?

Step 1: Assess the Needs of Your Organization

First, it is important to take a step back and assess the needs and challenges within your organization. This assessment not only includes your warehouse processes and goals but also the needs of your operations and and production departments. Each of these departments will play different roles within this project, so it is vital that everyone is on the same page. Does your organization want to…

  • Improve inventory accuracy? Prevent mispicks?
  • Find inventory quicker?
  • Reduce training time for new hires?
  • Ensure the right raw materials are issued?
  • Use automation to enforce standard operating procedures?

Step 2: Determine a Labeling Plan

Next, come up with an organized plan to implement barcode labels in your warehouse. When choosing what to barcode in your warehouse, this does not necessarily mean you have to drive all your processes from a completely paperless workflow. Instead of doing it all at once, start with baby steps. To begin, move away from using paper to record the physical transactions that get entered later into the ERP. Instead, have your warehouse operators use a mobile device to record warehouse transactions, at the point they happen, with simple barcode scans. Then, inventory will be updated in the ERP system as the transactions occur.

Start the process by using barcodes on your physical locations, key products, and documents. Consider the following:

  • Physical Locations (e.g., racking and bins)
  • Key Products (eg., highest volume)
  • Pick Slips
  • Purchase Orders
  • Work Travelers

When creating a plan, be sure to get feedback from your team members. After all, they are on the warehouse floor daily and understand the current processes best. Review your current procedures together to identify which steps would be best to replace with barcodes first. It is vital that everyone provides input and buys into new processes during this project.

Step 3: Define Your Label Data and Format

At this point, you should define the data required for your labels. What information do you need to collect or display internally or externally as products are shipped to customers? For example, your labels could include the following:

  • Stock Code
  • Stock Code Description
  • Lot Number
  • Quantity
  • Expiry Date 

It is also important to choose the type of barcode and format that are best for your organization based on what type and amount of data you need to encode. What type or size label are you planning to use? Which pieces of data need to be barcoded versus just displayed? Are you planning on using 1D barcodes or 2D barcodes (e.g., QR codes)? In a 1D barcode, there is a barcode for stock code and a separate barcode for Lot Number. In this situation, an operator would have to scan both barcodes to perform a transaction. Common examples of 1D barcodes include Code 39 and Code 128.

A 2D barcode can contain multiple pieces of information in one barcode for the operator to scan. For example, it could include the stock code, lot number, and quantity. Since a 2D barcode can store more amounts of information in a smaller amount of space, this simplifies and expedites the scanning process. Common examples of 2D barcodes are Data Matrix and QR Codes.

An example of a 1D barcode
An example of a 2D barcode

Step 4: Create Your Labels with a Label Design Platform

Now that you have defined your label format, it is time to create your barcodes. There are several ways to make labels.

Online Barcode Generator

Barcode generators are generally simple to use, as you only have to add your product code and select your barcode type. Since barcode generator software can be expensive, some organizations prefer using a free online barcode generator. Barcodes Inc provides a free barcode creator that generates both printable and scannable barcodes.

Barcode Label Software

With greater efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility in the label design and printing process, barcode label software may be the best option for you depending on the size and budget of your organization. Purchasing a barcode label software has various benefits.

  • Reduced label errors
  • Standardized label formats
  • Ability to adapt to data changes
  • Scalable when your organization grows

BarTender by Seagull Scientific and NiceLabel are examples of barcode label software.

Once you have created labels, be sure to consider the material and attachment method before printing those labels. Think about the environment of your facility. Are your products exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures? Do your products undergo frequent cleaning? Are your products located outdoors? If so, you may want to use waterproof or aluminum labels to ensure added durability.

Step 5: Automate the Use of Your Barcodes

After you have established labels in your warehouse, you will want to simplify the scanning process with an automated software solution that transfers your barcoded transactions into your business system such as riteSCAN Mobile Warehouse for SYSPRO. A warehouse management software solution allows you to have access and visibility to real-time information. Moreover, it reduces paperwork floating around the warehouse waiting to be entered into the ERP system later. All these improvements help streamline your warehouse operations and, ultimately, improve inventory accuracy.

When you migrate from a paper-based process to a mobile-warehouse solution with the goal of going paperless, there are several benefits.

  • You gain a 90% increase in visibility with access to real-time information from a single source of truth.
  • You achieve greater inventory accuracy, which avoids those truly troubling inventory discrepancies.
  • You gain improved workflows, which creates more efficient transactions.

At this time, it is beneficial to determine which hardware you will use based on your barcode scanning needs. Some factors to consider are the wireless connection capabilities, battery life, scanning distance, and durability. The latest scanners are more powerful, lightweight, and scan more accurately and efficiently at longer distances, such as the Zebra MC3300, MC9300, TC52, and TC8000—all of which are available from companies like Barcodes Inc and AbeTech.

How to barcode your warehouse guide

Step 6: Set Up a Label Process

Develop a plan on how to barcode label your warehouse

Finally, it is essential to develop a standard process of how and when to label your inventory. Ask yourself how you will label items when they are received and how you will label existing inventory within your warehouse. Do you want to approach it from a batch perspective or relabel all your inventory at once? One way some of our customers have relabeled their inventory was during a stock take. That way they only had to relabel their inventory items once.

Remember to review your process regularly to check gaps in your processes and identify problems on the warehouse floor. Make sure that your standard process includes how to keep products labeled accurately and consistently such as how and when to relabel products or reprint damaged labels. Also don’t forget to label your locations and bins!

If you plan ahead and communicate effectively to your team, you will be able to successfully implement barcodes in your warehouse. One of the most important elements of businesses today is having access and visibility to real-time information. Barcode labeling your warehouse and moving to an automated solution helps provide more accurate real-time inventory information, which can lead to a significant return on investment. Want to learn more about barcoding and automating your warehouse? Contact us today!

Have questions about the blog?

Our sales & implementation specialists are experts in the field and would love to help you. Contact us to learn more!

Introducing the NEW riteSCAN

Introducing
The NEW riteSCAN

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Running an efficient warehouse is no easy job. That’s why we created the allnew riteSCAN 8. Need improved efficiency in your warehouse? Lack visibility? Want increased speed and accuracy? We’ve got you covered! With improved capabilities, riteSCAN 8 is a simple mobile warehouse solution built specifically for the SYSPRO ERP system. riteSCAN is a true plug and play system that only takes a few hours to download and start using. Better yet, it only costs 25% of a full WMS solution. Drive efficiency with streamlined workflows and seamless real-time SYSPRO integration.

Check out the video to see riteSCAN 8 in action

Introducing the NEW riteSCAN 8
Play Video about Introducing the NEW riteSCAN 8

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Our sales & implementation specialists are experts in the field and would love to help you. Contact us to learn more!

Year in Review: riteSOFT’s Favorite Moments of 2021

YEAR IN REVIEW: FAVORITE MOMENTS OF 2021

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Happy Holidays from our team to yours! 

It’s safe to say that 2021 left us with some memorable moments: some good, some bad, and some we’d prefer to just forget. Despite the challenging hurdles of the year, we are proud to say that we have maintained our collaborative culture at riteSOFT. We’re constantly brainstorming creative ways to maintain social interactions through online meetings and virtual social events. Our Monday morning team meetings not only spark insightful conversations but allow us to have a bit of fun with clever team-building games.  

In honor of these memorable moments of 2021we’re sharing our five favorites. We hope you enjoy and learn from them! 

riteSOFT Team

5. We Participated in our 6th Annual Ditch Cleanup 

The riteSOFT team participated in the annual ditch cleanup through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Adopt a Highway program. Since 2015, we have adopted a two-mile strip of Highway 23 in Waite Park, Minnesota. To increase the fun, we competed on who could find the most unusual piece of trash. Several masks, bottles, and cigarette packs were collected; however, the most unusual item was a 1934 $5.00 Silver Certificate. Collectively, 14 riteSOFT employees picked up 62 bags of trash from the roadway ditches during a 3-hour period. Team building through ditch cleanup? You heard that right! 

riteSOFT team at ditch cleanup

4. New Faces on Board

riteSOFT welcomed three new team members this year! Our development team was excited to welcome two new software developers, Nate Esplan and Andy Rothstein. Additionally, we hired a Digital Marketing Specialist on our marketing team, Maree Smith. We are thrilled to have them join our growing, collaborative team! 

3. We Attended SYSPRO’s PartnerUP Sales Event 

riteSOFT attended SYSPRO’s 2021 PartnerUP sales event to highlight the development of the next generation of riteSCAN to SYSPRO partners. The event was held at SYSPRO’s new state-of-the-art USA headquarters in Tustin, California. The event not only portrayed positive energy and our enhanced collaborative teamwork, but SYSPRO also revealed some exciting changes taking place involving their global ISV (Independent Software Vendor) program. 

SYSPRO Conference

2. We Introduced New and Improved Enhancements to riteTIME

riteSOFT’s time tracking solution, riteTIME, added several new development enhancements including visual scheduling, geo tracking, and an Android mobile app. Visual Scheduling allows supervisors to easily schedule employees to jobs in a user-friendly drag-and-drop format. Additionally, supervisors can now see the location of employees when they are performing transactions off-site while using riteTIME’s geo tracking feature. This increased mobility is especially beneficial for companies with employees who work off-site. Stay tuned for the launch of the riteTIME iOS app in 2022! 

Supervisors will have visibility to know how team members' time is being used

1. We are Ready to Launch the New riteSCAN 8 on January 5th  

We’ve been preparing all year and it’s almost here! We’re excited to introduce the all-new riteSCAN 8. With improved capabilities, the new riteSCAN 8 is a simple, plug-and-play mobile warehouse management software built for SYSPRO users. It is a first step to warehouse automation that takes weeks not months to implement and costs 25% of a full WMS solution. riteSCAN 8’s new web-based product design gives users access to streamlined workflows and new functionality—plus seamless, real-time SYSPRO integration and reliability. riteSCAN 8 was made specifically to improve efficiency, gain visibility, and increase speed and accuracy in your warehouse. 

riteSCAN 8 arrives January 5, but the opportunity to experience it through a demo or free trial is available today! 

riteSCAN can run on any device with a browser

There is no doubt that 2021 has been one for the booksWe’d like to sincerely thank our customers and partners for their loyalty and goodwill throughout the year. We wish you the best for a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! 

Have questions about the blog?

Our sales & implementation specialists are experts in the field and would love to help you. Contact us to learn more!

From Dread to Delight: 3 Stock Take Mistakes to Avoid

From Dread to Delight: 3 Stock Take Mistakes to Avoid

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It’s that dreaded time of year again. Your team is already groaning in anticipation of several long, tedious days counting—and trying to find—inventory during your annual stock take. While this task is time consuming and costly, it is critical to help maintain inventory accuracy and prevent stockouts or overstock. 

So, how can you reduce disruption and take the dread out of your stock take this year? Learn from the mistakes of others. Check out three of the most common stock take mistakes and how to prevent them from happening in your SYSPRO warehouse.

Mistake #1: Lack of Planning  

It’s no secret that proper planning prevents poor performance—particularly for stock takes. Performing a stock take requires the coordination of people, time, and resources. Without a clear plan, you run the risk of a costly, inefficient process that leads to inaccurate results. Here are some planning mistakes we’ve seen our customers make: 

Choosing the wrong staff to perform the stock take 

Customers frequently use additional staff from around the organization to help with their annual stock take. While this allows for more hands-on-deck to help the stock take to be performed quicker, it takes them away from their primary responsibilities. Additionally, they are not always the right people for the job. Often, not having the right experience about inventory items or the warehouse can lead to more mistakes than it’s worth. If your warehouse has a large inventory that takes a considerable amount of time to count, it could be more cost-effective to hire temporary employees, ensuring work gets done as scheduled. Plus, it helps prevent productivity losses and the hidden costs of overtime. 

Some software solutions, like riteSCAN Mobile Warehouse for SYSPRO, offer temporary licenses to help perform the physical count. This allows you to get more people on the floor and shorten the disruption in your organization. So, analyze who to pick for the stock take team based on their knowledge, attention to detail, role in the organization, and their respective wages plus any applicable overtime pay. 

Train your team when performing a stock take in your SYSPRO warehouse

Not taking time to train employees 

Proper employee training—before you start the stock take—is a key step that is frequently skipped due to time constraints. Unfortunately, missing this step slows down the process. Previously, one of our customers didn’t set aside enough time to train the team or walk through some test examples ahead of time. As a result, several of the employees were not familiar enough with the product differences, stock locations, and the units of measure. As a result, it led to numerous miscounted stock codes and quantity discrepancies that needed to be reviewed and fixed by the supervisors.  

Save time and reduce future headaches. Train your employees before you start counting to ensure efficiency and count accuracy. Make sure your training includes the following: 

    1. Key product differences
    2. The proper counting method 
    3. “What to do if” scenarios 
    4. Quick reference guides 
    5. “Go to” person/ people when issues arise 

Carefully pick the date and select the right team members to perform the physical count. Build in sufficient time to train your team. It will really pay off overall.

Mistake #2: Relying on Paper Processes 

Before automating their warehouses, many of our customers would write counts on paper tickets for their stock takes. Unfortunately, this can lead to errors in two ways. First, it’s easy to write down the wrong stock codes, Lot Number, or transpose numbers. Second, when it comes time to enter the data into SYSPRO, data entry errors often occur due to illegible handwriting or keying mistakes. No matter how meticulous you think the team is, human error cannot be avoided. Additionally, paper processes create a data lag that makes it harder to reconcile inventory counts and identify where the errors occurred after the fact. Our customers often say that chasing down errors is difficult and time consuming. This is often because the person who originally counted a specific stock code has already moved on to another area to count and cannot remember what was originally counted or written down by the time the supervisor enters the data. 

Barcode scans help prevent these issues. An automated warehouse management system, like riteSCAN, validates that the correct stock code is being counted. Plus, you can see the counts in real time as the stock take progresses in SYSPRO. This means that if there is an error with the user of not counting the right location; Stock Code; or Lot number, the system will catch the error at the point when they are performing the count. Automation lets you do more with less people and helps simplify the stock take process, reducing the risk of manual errors. 

See how easy is it to perform your annual stock take with riteSCAN

Mistake #3: Inconsistent or No Labeling  

Proper labeling is a critical step to good inventory management and an efficient stock take. Prior to implementing riteSCAN, many of our customers struggle with labeling products consistently. Having the correct pieces of data barcoded to streamline the scanning process during the stock take is a key factor. For example, sometimes our customers prefer using supplier labels within their inventory rather than labeling their products with their own label. During the stock take process, this causes a multitude of issues later. As users are performing counts on the floorthey do not always know what pieces of data to use for what because each supplier’s label can be different with distinct pieces of data. Our customers must often decipher whether a label is the supplierstock code data or their own stock code data. Having consistent labels and data that is barcoded allows users to quickly know what pieces of data is required. When going from product to product, it also allows users to scan this data into the system with a single scan and on a consistent basis. Not having ALL of your items labeled and barcoded consistently leads to a lot of wasted time. 

The most crucial step you can take to achieve a more accurate inventory and stock take process is to consistently label your warehouse and inventory. If you have not barcode labeled your inventory yet, here are the steps to help you get started: 

  1. Define the data that is required for your labels: The first step in the process is to determine what you want on your labels to accurately identify stock and perform inventory movements or pick orders for customers. (e.g., stock code, stock code description, lot number, quantity, etc.). Do this right away in order to make the remaining barcoding steps more seamless.  
  2. Create the label format: Next, create standard barcode label formats based on your operational needs. Think about how you want the data organized on the label; the size required; and the type of label needed. The format is typically dependent on what you are labeling such as metal, food, electronics, pallets, bins, etc. 
  3. Develop a standard label process: Now that you’ve decided on your label format, the next step is to develop a standard process of how and when to label your inventory. If you have not labeled your inventory yet, there are several options to consider:  
    • Tie your relabel process with your stock take. 
    • Label existing stock items in batches.
    • Label new items as they are replenished and received into inventory.
  4. Start labeling: Once you have defined a standard process for labeling inventory, define process points within your organization. Know how products are going to be labeled or relabeled in the future. Don’t forget to label locations and bins within your warehouse, especially if you are using multiple bins in SYSPRO.  

A successful stock take in your warehouse 

Running a successful stock take takes time, proper planning, and dedication. If done correctly, your organization could really reap the benefits. So, what could a successful stock take look like in your warehouse? Before implementing riteSCAN, it took one of our customers 3-4 days with approximately 40 employees to complete their annual inventory. After utilizing riteSCAN; incorporating consistent labeling; and using barcode scans, it now takes them 1-2 days with only 6 employees to complete their stock take.  

Sick of stopping operations for an extended period? 

Cycle counting is the end goal for many warehouses. It can be much more efficient to perform inventory checks throughout the year instead of stopping operations for an extended period to count stock annually. Some other benefits of cycle counts are they can be less disruptive to daily operations and less time-consuming. Additionally, errors are more easily discovered with less time between checks.  

A few simple process changes can take the dread out of your next stock take or cycle count. Watch the video to see how easy it is to perform your next stock take with riteSCAN and SYSPRO.   

Want to use riteSCAN for your next SYSPRO warehouse stock take? Schedule a demo here.

Have questions about the blog?

Our sales & implementation specialists are experts in the field and would love to help you. Contact us to learn more!

Is now the time to migrate to Android devices in your warehouse?

Is now the time to migrate to Android devices in your warehouses?

Guest Blog Post
Finn Madden, Product Content Specialist • eCommerce/Marketing
Emkat, a Barcodes Group company
Android has industry-leading security features for your warehouse

In a digital world, every organization—big or small—is exposed to the threat of cyber attacks. Regardless of size, cyber security is critical for all organizations and goes beyond protecting networks, devices, and data. This includes assessing hand-held scanning devices used in the warehouse that may be running outdated operating systems. Read on to learn why now is the time to migrate to newer Android devices in your warehouse.

Microsoft ends support of the Windows Mobile operating system

Microsoft’s commitment to enterprise mobile computing is waning. As of December 10, 2019, Windows mobile device users are no longer eligible to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free. This means that Windows devices will still work, but those devices running the last official supported version of Windows 10 Mobile won’t receive any more updates or patches from Microsoft. Without updates or patches, the Windows 10 Mobile device’s security will be at risk.

Outdated operating systems increase security risks

Using outdated mobile operating systems creates cyber security vulnerabilities and compliance risks that can have enormous cost and business implications. If your company still uses Windows Mobile, Windows CE, and Windows Embedded Handheld devices, you must be aware of the risks in your enterprise mobility strategy: security risks, a lack of new Windows device availability, and most importantly, a lack of future operating system innovation.

Windows applications are not forward compatible. This means if you want to remain with Windows, you’ll have to take on the costly, time-consuming process of reprogramming and migrating applications and databases. With Windows devices posing a serious security risk to organizations of all sizes, migrating to a new platform is necessary to avoid cyber attacks. Given this, the industry is switching to Android.

Why switch to Android devices in your warehouse?

Android incorporates industry-leading security features and works with developers and device implementers to keep the Android platform and ecosystem safe. Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system. It offers a user-friendly, intuitive interface along with many development tools supported by a global developer community. This makes the process of migrating to new solutions such as riteSCAN 8 Mobile Warehouse for SYSPRO much more efficient.

Android has been subject to a rigorous security program. It was designed with multilayered security that can adapt to support an open platform while still protecting all its users. Users can have full control over their own privacy and security through visibility into the permissions requested by each App. Designed with the expectation that cyber attacks would occur, Android security both reduces the chance of these attacks and greatly limits the impact of an attack if one were to occur.  

Future proof your technology investment with Android solutions. Android stands out from the crowd as an open, user friendly operating system while still maintaining vital security controls for mobile platforms and mobile warehouse management software like riteSCAN.

Thinking About Going Paperless?

Thinking About Going Paperless?

Now more than ever, we are living in a digital world where access to information is a top priority. If 2020 has taught us anything, we’ve learned that being nimble is critical to achieving long-term business success. Going paperless with a digital warehouse management solution can not only help you adapt as the market changes, but also provide real-time insights from any location and improve your bottom line.

There are four key money saving benefits to going paperless that are often overlooked in the manufacturing world.

1. Reduced Errors

Did you know that, on average, humans make one error per every 300 characters entered? These errors are more easily avoided with a paperless system. We’re all human after all; so when an error does occur, corrections can be made quickly and seamlessly as transactions occur in the warehouse. With paper, errors may not be caught until days, or even weeks later.

2. Less Wasted Time

How much time do you spend entering data manually? And afterwards, can you rely on the accuracy of those numbers at any given moment? Have you ever walked across the warehouse in search of an item, only to find that it is not where it is supposed to be? Before you know it, 30 minutes have been wasted looking for it. Going paperless, not only reduces duplicate data entry, but saves time by helping you to locate items in your warehouse with the ease of a hand-held device.

3. Lower Warehousing Costs

Good warehouse space is important, but expensive. Inaccurate inventory numbers drive the need for larger inventories and increased warehouse space to compensate. Reduce errors and maximize the space you already have by improving your processes and going digital.

4. Higher Satisfaction

Inventory inaccuracies and mispicks create frustration, reduce customer satisfaction, and negatively impact your bottom line. On average, one mispick can cost a warehouse up to $200. That number can add up quickly. Investing in an inventory system that increases accuracy and efficiency will also result in increased satisfaction for all parties involved.

Are you interested in learning more about how going paperless can benefit your warehouse? Watch the webinar below!