QR Code vs. Barcode: Which is best for Inventory Tracking

QR Code
Read Time: 3 mins

Keeping track of the inventory on hand is an important element of inventory management. Most firms that manage any amount of inventory need a rapid, digital system that allows them to swiftly scan a product tag to check it in or out. This makes it simple to see what you have on hand, what you need to reorder, and how much money you’ve made.

When it comes to inventory management, there are two common tracking options: barcodes and QR codes, each with its own set of benefits. When deciding between barcodes and QR codes for inventory management, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each.

What is a Barcode?

Barcodes are one-dimensional codes made up of a series of black bars of varying widths placed on a white backdrop. The difference in bar width provides a one-of-a-kind combination that can be read with a barcode scanner.

Inventory professionals use barcoding software to produce a unique sequence for each individual Stock Keeping Unit, then print off barcode labels to attach to the packaging, the goods themselves, and the racks where the goods are stored.

Small amounts of information, usually up to 25 characters, can be conveyed using these tiny barcodes. If you only require the tags to convey a limited amount of information, such as the SKU code and the item’s price, that is sufficient.

What is a QR code?

QR codes (also known as 2D barcodes) are two-dimensional codes that are often made up of black squares and dots on a white background (but they may also be coloured). These elements’ vertical and horizontal positioning provides a unique combination that may be read with a dedicated scanner or, more commonly, a smartphone camera attached to a QR scanner app.

QR codeQR codes may carry a lot more information than ordinary barcodes since they contain information in both vertical and horizontal dimensions. A single QR code can hold about 1500 alphanumeric characters, which is almost 60 times more than a traditional barcode.

When more information needs to be included in the code, QR codes have a significant benefit over standard barcodes due to their bigger data storage capacity.

The advantages of using barcodes and QR codes in inventory management

In the realms of inventory management and production management, digital inventory tracking has numerous advantages. Labels can be used to indicate everything from materials, work in progress, and finished goods to storage locations, equipment, and manufacturing orders, allowing you to see what’s going on in your operations. Here are some of the immediate advantages of using a barcode or QR code inventory system:

Reduced paperwork

Barcodes and QR codes replace the traditional paper trail with a digital one. Many clerical activities are now automated, making keeping records and retrieving the right documents easier and faster.

Reduced human errors

A scanner, unlike humans, cannot overlook a number or a portion of a code. Using a scanner to capture inventory movements on a regular basis drastically lowers record-keeping errors. A well-implemented barcode system also helps to avoid selecting and dispatching mix-ups.

Increased productivity

Scanning a barcode or QR code is instantaneous, allowing things to be received, picked, and shipped far faster than with human records. When used on manufacturing orders, they can also offer workers quick access to their jobs and instructions. All of this could lead to a boost in worker productivity.

Improved traceability

Many manufacturing and distribution organisations rely on lot tracking and traceability software to ensure end-to-end visibility. When you assign stock lot numbers to batches of goods, you may manage individual portions of those lots, track product nonconformity back to specific batches, and simply organise product callbacks when a stock lot is found to be nonconforming. Expiry date tracking keeps expired goods out of manufacturing and out of the hands of buyers.

Reduced inventory costs

By eliminating the need to perform manual data-entry tasks as well as much of the search time spent locating items, a barcode or QR code system helps reduce inventory labour costs. Better tracking and analysis of stock, however, allows companies to optimize their inventory levels, avoid the deadstock, and reduce inventory holding costs as a consequence.

Data-driven decision-making

You may gradually enhance the way things are handled if you have a real-time overview of stock movements and the ability to assess your inventory operations. You may evaluate which commodities are more vital to the business, where they should be physically positioned in the stockroom, and so on, based on the data gathered by employing a barcode system. Not to mention that you’d know exactly how much inventory you have and how much you need.

When considering whether to utilise QR codes or barcodes for inventory monitoring, it’s important to consider the overall picture. Your barcoding system should work with both your inventory management software and your point-of-sale system.

For more information on improving efficiency with barcode technology, contact GOIS.

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