If you don’t combine barcode scanning and data collection technology with your ERP software, you will inevitably pay more in labor costs, excess inventory and errors.

Real-time inventory data is increasingly seen as the cornerstone of e-commerce and omnichannel initiatives. With customers demanding high levels of inventory status visibility before, during, and after each transaction, businesses need to know what’s in stock, what’s in transit, what’s being returned, and when to reorder. .

Inventory must be tracked accurately or it can negatively impact warehouse operations, fulfillment, receiving, and customer service. However, by some estimates, nearly half of small and medium-sized businesses either don’t track inventory at all or use manual methods. A recent study by Zebra Technologies revealed that almost 40% of companies still do not use mobile computers or mobile barcode scanners.

Inventory management without real-time barcode reading This will only become more difficult as businesses increase their number of SKUs and increasingly process more of the small orders typical of e-commerce and omnichannel operations. As the number of inventory errors increases, they can have a ripple effect across the business.

When businesses don’t have inventory visibility, it can lead to a variety of issues. »

– Brady Stevens, Project Manager at Global Shop Solutions

“For example, they may run out of product and not discover the problem until they have already made a sale online. Now they don’t meet delivery deadlines and will likely have to follow up with customers and offer counterfeits. This can lead to lost profits at best, and often leads to lost customers as well.


Here is an example of a typical scenario of a company using an ERP system without mobility or barcode scanning: a warehouse worker uses a paper document (i.e. a picklist), which allows him to know where to find specific products for an order. The worker selects all the parts (kitting) then walks to a workstation to confirm that the job is complete. After that, the order is ready to be shipped.

There are a number of things that can go wrong in this process without real-time visibility, and they all come at a cost:

1. Unnecessary labor costs: Without the aid of barcode scanners, employees waste a lot of time entering information into the computer when employees retrieve their picklists and then confirm that they have selected all of the items needed to fulfill the order.

If there are errors, at least some of that labor is duplicated as workers return to bins to pick the correct items and then re-enter order information. The longer it takes for an employee to process a single order, the more employees you will need to handle increased volumes. Digitization speeds up the data collection and entry process.

2. Data Entry Errors: Manual data entry always leads to errors. Once these errors are in your software systems, they create inventory inaccuracies and shipping errors that can be difficult to spot and correct. With barcode scanning, all data entry is automated and initiated by the barcode label; there is no possibility of an error in entering an SKU or an item quantity.

3. Picking errors: Selection errors can cost a company tens of thousands of dollars a year. In industries that handle more expensive goods, the cost can be even higher. Picking and putting away is rife with opportunities for error – employees may inadvertently pick the wrong item, pick the wrong number of the right item, place inventory in the wrong place, or make data entry or counting errors when physical inventories.

Barcode scanning and mobile computing can eliminate most of these issues by providing real-time confirmations that the correct SKU has been chosen and in the correct quantity.

4. Excess Inventory: Without accurate inventory data, most businesses overcompensate for their lack of visibility by increasing inventory. This is a costly investment, as it not only leads to unnecessary purchases and higher inventory costs, but also increases obsolescence.

With additional inventory, there are also more write-offs and write-downs, which can reduce profitability.

5. Lack of visibility: Knowing how much inventory you have and where it goes doesn’t just affect your ability to ship accurately. Without accurate, real-time inventory data, it’s nearly impossible to determine key performance indicators (KPIs) such as on-time shipments, perfect order percentages, out-of-stocks, and more. This data is necessary if you want to make any kind of performance improvements ― it helps create a baseline and makes it easier to identify problem areas in your inventory processes.


The data created through mobile barcode scanning can help determine where bottlenecks are in your inventory management operations, as well as identify errors made and your performance against customer expectations. your customers and your own internal objectives.

If you haven’t deployed mobile barcode scanning to help you track and manage your inventory, you’re likely absorbing unnecessary costs and risks created by wasted labor, excess inventory, and picking/shipping errors which can ultimately lead to loss of customers.

To learn more about how you can take advantage of the economic benefits of barcode scanning with Global Shop Solutions, visit this webpage.


Eric Sutter is a business development professional with over 20 years of experience in barcoding, building solutions for asset tracking and warehouse management across a wide range of vertical markets. Sutter founded EMS Barcode Solutions believing that customers need more than data collection devices and software, they need solutions. By combining and integrating components such as laptops, software, labels and ribbons with professional services, EMS provides solutions that provide customers with a tangible return on their investment.