QR Codes for Inventory Management: Manage and Maximize Efficiency
Last Updated: November 27, 2020
A company’s inventory is one of its most valuable assets. Finished goods and maintaining an ample supply of inventory is the core of a business. A shortage of inventory can be extremely detrimental, whereas a large inventory carries the risk of spoilage, theft, or damage.
With complex global manufacturing and logistics systems, QR Codes for inventory provides the capability to hold much more comprehensive information for these systems to function properly.
QR Codes were primarily developed to track vehicles during the process of car manufacturing by a Japanese automobile company in 1994.
Barcodes were used to track inventory prior to QR Codes. Barcodes are one-dimensional, which means they can only hold information in the horizontal dimension. Inventory management these days has far surpassed what was required in the 90s, thus barcodes don’t suffice anymore.
Before any of these technologies existed, cashiers and administrators tracked inventory manually, which is an extremely slow and inefficient task. While the barcode worked for a while, they were still inefficient for mass product inventory management since it does not have the ability to store large data and lacks flexibility.
Thus, QR Codes inventory management were developed for effective and easy management.
How to create a QR Code system for inventory management
QR Codes for inventory management can be used via two methods –
1. Bulk QR Codes for inventory management
Since an inventory typically contains products in large quantities, creating QR Codes single-handedly for each product is time-consuming and inefficient.
Thus, create QR Codes in bulk that helps to create and download QR Codes for an inventory in large quantities.
Not just that, bulk QR Code generators allow customizing the QR Codes too, which helps in embedding them on to different products without spending too much time.
To create QR Codes in bulk,
Go to Beaconstacs QR Code generator and log in to the dashboard
QR Codes for inventory management: 7 reasons why they must be used
#1 QR Codes occupy less space, speeding up the inventory process
Although barcodes were previously preferred for inventory management, they do not hold the capability to hold large amounts of data.
QR Codes are small in size – as small as 1 cm x 1 cm, that can be scanned to retrieve large amounts of data. Dynamic QR Codes help speed up the scanning process as they contain short URLs, ergo, fastening the inventory process to maximize efficiency.
QR Codes can store large amounts of data, technically hundreds of times the information a barcode can hold. This qualifies the usage of QR Code on product packaging since they can be tied to a variety of information, thus occupying less area on the package.
Because of its quick scanning ability, QR Codes for inventory management speeds up the process of maintaining an accurate inventory. QR Codes will cut down time spent on manual data entry and enhance the accuracy of records in question.
#2 Easy to scan
With the current popularity of QR Codes surging, they can be read using most smartphones and devices, which makes it easier to use it as opposed to other technology solutions.
QR Codes are easy to scan, even if it is slightly misaligned because QR Code scanners are powerful enough to scan them even from an angle. In addition, QR Codes can store a myriad of information such as URLs, business cards, PDFs, and even GPS coordinates.
QR Codes are easy to create, track, and use because of their versatility.
Employees of warehouses and storage facilities these days prefer to use smartphones for scanning to maintain inventory as they are more convenient and easy to use.
Tip – If the QR Code is not being scanned correctly, please check for its error correction levels or try scanning the QR Code from a distance, or create a QR Code with maximum readability.
#3 Customizable for different types of products
For businesses that cater to different types of products on a daily basis such as large retail chains, clothing stores, and grocery chains, having QR Codes that can be easily identified helps in distinguishing products based on their categories.
This helps the warehouse staff to label and organize their products even before they begin scanning them.
Customize QR Codes to suit the color of the products by changing its color, adding a background image or logo to identify the product to easily identify the product that can be customized for different types of products.
Tip – Customize the QR Code by adding a logo, changing its eyes, template, and color to label them and identify it easily even from a distance.
#4 Damage resistant with minimum error correction levels
A substantial advantage of QR Codes over barcodes is that they have up to 30% tolerance.
In other words, a QR Code can work even if 30% of the QR Code is damaged, a basic necessity for products that are shipped and processed on a large scale. QR Codes are less susceptible to damage, making it a reliable option for inventory tracking.
The efficiency of QR Codes is due to its square shape and the elements they hold that are clustered together. Products typically go through tremendous amounts of wear and tear as they go through different types of transportation and weather conditions throughout their total processing, and thus damages to printed QR Codes can occur.
The error correction feature of QR Codes to track inventory helps warehouse staff to scan them instantly and avoid the additional time it would take to otherwise process barcodes.
Tip – Make sure to print the QR Code at least 2 cm x 2 cm so it is not blurry and always print on an even surface with a hardback to maximize its scanning ability. Also, always test the QR Code before downloading it.
When dealing with large scale inventories, it is important to keep track of them to know where they are, what time it was last scanned, and how swiftly they are being transported.
QR Codes for inventory tracking helps in tracking inventory in real-time based on their scanning activity. Inventory can be tracked based on their GPS location, time of their last scan, and even the OS used for retrieving granular data about the products.
QR Codes can also be shared with customers to track their shipment to be transparent with the shipping process and the timing of the shipping of their logistics involved.
Using QR Codes on every piece of an inventory will help the warehouse team to track assets in real-time, and also helps anyone else handling the inventory to keep track of them without having to run down to the storage for confirmation.
Tip – Tie the QR Code with other inventory management software and Google Analytics to retrieve additional information about the products.
#6 Agility to integrate with current product inventory systems
Most inventory management software allows incorporating QR Codes into them.
To integrate a QR Code with the current product inventory system, scan the UPC barcode when a product arrives and print a QR Code using the inventory system. The QR Code is attached to the product before shipping to retail locations.
These QR Codes can also be scanned by the consumer to view the online version of the product with reviews, specifications, and even availability.
QR Codes make it easier for warehouse administrators to connect and store information in the cloud. Databases stored in the cloud can be easily accessed by all team members and are not restricted to one specific location.
This can be especially helpful if warehouse employees spend a lot of time on the floor looking to retrieve data about products.
Cloud-based inventory management eliminates the need to go back to an office to update records and makes it easier to update them in real-time via QR Codes.
Attach the QR Code to a webpage that lets the warehouse staff update, edit, and track data via a cloud-based inventory management software.
Benefits of using QR Codes for inventory management
Scan products swiftly
Easy to use
Enhanced security as opposed to other technologies
Elevated fault tolerance
Superior data storage capabilities
Dynamic to use
QR Codes for inventory management can help maximize efficiency with minimal efforts
Several inventory management systems demand a lot of data entry, changing, or removing records of assets manually. Even if they are streamlined, it requires acquiring a lot of technical knowledge and skills to manage the software efficiently.
QR Codes help to automate operations to achieve maximum efficiency with minimal errors. This instantaneous information transfer will also reduce the number of shortcomings in inventory records.
Integrating QR Codes for inventory management is a sure way to optimize and promote a smooth transaction of the inventory management system and allows direct access to track, store, and streamline assets.
According to Facts and Factors, the global mobile technology market in 2019 was approximately USD 290 billion and is expected to reach over USD 5,500 billion by 2026. Read this blog post to learn how QR Codes are used in financial institutions.
Although QR Codes were designed to track automotive manufacturing parts, popular car manufacturers such as Cadillac, GM Motors, and Mercedes have adopted QR Codes for more than just tracking. Read this blog post to know other unique use-cases of QR Codes in the automobile industry.
With Google announcing their plan to phase out third-party cookies by 2022 completely, first-party data will be the go-to for brands henceforth. Read this blog post to know how CPG brands can build first-party data.