Bar Codes are used by larger businesses all the time. Mainly they’re used for retail operations to track inventory.
I asked Grant Wickes of Wasp Barcode Technologies to write a guest column educating us on the benefits and uses of bar codes in a small business.
In millions of small businesses across the country, precise information can rarely be found. Managers are guessing or going from memory when asked:
– how many units of an item are in inventory?
– where – exactly – are key assets that are being used by employees?
– how many hours have been worked this week in a particular department?
The answers to these questions could be the difference between success or failure in the business.
Surprisingly, the solution to these problems is an old-school, inexpensive technology that just about anybody can use: the barcode scanner.
For $1,000 or less, small businesses can solve their inventory, asset tracking or employee time and attendance challenges. This nominal investment can be paid back in months, weeks or – in some cases – days.
Barcode scanners aren’t just for checking out retail customers.
With affordable barcode solutions, small businesses can keep better track of everything:
– What if a small business could reduce its inventory counting process from days or weeks to hours? Barcodes can be affixed to inventory items of all kinds. When it’s time to take inventory, forget manual counting. Simply scan each item. Many barcode-based inventory software packages will automatically synch with popular accounting programs or spreadsheets.
– What if a small business could prevent the loss of expensive equipment and avoid buying duplicate items? Barcodes can be attached to moveable assets, from PCs and mobile phones to projectors. Using asset tracking software when these assets are checked in and out, their barcodes are scanned. The company always knows exactly who “owns” a piece of equipment.
The human barcode
At most small businesses, timesheets are ragged log books filled with inaccurate information. Some employees forget to fill out timesheets daily and guess at their hours. Others fudge to cover long lunches or late arrivals.
At companies with old-fashioned time clocks, “buddy punching” has become common. Want to slip out early? Ask a friend to clock you out when he leaves. Still more businesses rely on systems where employees swipe ID cards. Unfortunately, cards get lost or accidentally left home.
Solving these problems is as simple as relying on the “human barcode” – the fingerprint.
Time and attendance systems that use biometric time clocks let employees punch in and out by pressing their finger on a pad. Time is recorded and matched to each individual. The biometric time clock works with software that enables managers to review and finalize hours. Gone are the long hours and errors of keying in hand-written time cards. Once time is tabulated, the data can be directly transferred into payroll systems.
Imagine how quickly a $1,000 biometric time and attendance system can pay for itself by:
– ensuring that employees actually work the hours for which they are paid
– automatically compiling all time and attendance data
– eliminating time-consuming accounting and payroll processes, week after week
With proven technologies like barcoding and solutions designed for small business, the small business owner now can gain the efficiencies of a big business – on a small business budget.
As vice president of marketing for Wasp Barcode Technologies (www.waspbarcode.com), Grant Wickes sets the strategic direction and oversees the tactical execution of the company’s marketing programs. Wickes’ marketing and sales experience spans more than two decades, the majority of which has been spent growing small technology companies.