An inventory scanner, also known as a barcode scanner or a scan gun, is a handheld device used to scan and read barcodes on products. These devices are often used in warehouses, factories, and retail stores to track and monitor inventory levels.
We all know how important it is for manufacturers and retailers to keep accurate inventory records. Some problems associated with inventory management, such as overstocking or understocking, can lead to higher costs or lost sales.
For this reason, scan guns have become an indispensable component for businesses aiming to automate and streamline their inventory management process.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at inventory scanners to understand how they work, why they are important and how to use them in your inventory management.
How does an inventory scanner work?
Nowadays, most products carry a barcode that contains information about the product itself. These barcodes consist of a series of bars, spaces and numbers that can be decoded using an inventory scanner.
Once the barcode has been scanned, the scan gun sends the data to an inventory management system on a computer or mobile device via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This makes it easier to track inventory levels.
What are the advantages to using an inventory scanner?
It is no surprise that retailers use barcode scanners to manage their inventory. In fact, there are several advantages to using an inventory scanner. These advantages include:
- Time-saving: it can help businesses save time and money by automating the inventory tracking process. By using a scan gun, employees can simply scan the barcode rather than count products manually.
- Accuracy: tracking inventory manually can be not only time-consuming, but also more prone to errors. Using barcode scanners can drastically reduce the risk of human error.
- Better inventory management: these devices can also help businesses avoid overstocking or understocking products. By tracking inventory more efficiently, businesses can anticipate some problems such as excessive inventory or lost sales.
How to use an inventory scanner in your inventory system
Now that you know the benefits of using a barcode scanner, let’s see how you can use this device to track inventory levels.
1. Choose an inventory scanner
Inventory scanners come in all sizes and shapes. In order to find a scan gun that best suits your needs, you may have to spend some time shopping around. There are hundreds of barcode scanners available on the market.
When choosing a barcode scanner, there are several factors that you should take into consideration: price, connectivity, durability, compatibility, reliability etc.
If you don’t want to purchase a scan gun, you can also use a mobile phone, a tablet or a computer camera to read the barcode.
2. Install the Sheetgo inventory management template
Using an inventory scanner is simple. You don’t need to buy an expensive inventory management system. Sheetgo has an end-to-end inventory system in Google Sheets.
The greatest benefit of using the Sheetgo inventory management template is that it is a system based on multiple Google Sheets files – a very accessible tool that the majority of users are familiar with.
In order to install the inventory management template, click the blue button below and sign up for Sheetgo with your Google account. Once signed in, simply click on Install template and Sheetgo will add it to your Google Drive once you’ve authorized the installation.
Inventory with barcode
Spreadsheet-based workflow template to manage your inventory using a barcode scanner.
3. How does the Sheetgo inventory management template work?
The inventory management template is an automated workflow that consists of 4 spreadsheet files and 3 forms. The first 3 spreadsheets are dedicated to different aspects of your inventory: items, check-in, and check-out. The items sheet is connected to both the check-in and check-out sheets.
All of these spreadsheets are connected to a master sheet, which is your inventory database. This master sheet helps sort your data and provides insights into your inventory through a visual dashboard.
Additionally, Sheetgo offers forms that simplify the inventory management process. There are three forms for each area of your inventory: item registration, check-in, and check-out. These forms include a barcode scanner system that can automate the entire item management process. Once you scan or input your items, Sheetgo automatically transfers the data into the corresponding spreadsheets for your use.
4. Using the Sheetgo forms to input your items
There are 3 Sheetgo forms that will help you input your data into the spreadsheets.
Register item: Input new items into your inventory using the register item form.
Check-in item: Input the items that have entered the inventory with the check-in item form.
Check-out item: This form is used to show which items have left the inventory.
When you fill out the forms, Sheetgo will automatically transfer the data to the corresponding spreadsheet and update the rest of the sheets accordingly.
In order to register an item, open the corresponding form and input the data into the fields.
Whenever you want to check in or check out an item, open the corresponding form and use your inventory scanner to read the barcode.
Bear in mind that you can also use a mobile phone, a tablet or a computer camera to scan the barcode. Once you submit your forms, Sheetgo will automatically transfer your data to the other spreadsheets.
5. Checking your master spreadsheet
You can track real-time inventory levels by opening the master spreadsheet at any time.
6. Schedule automatic updates
If you want to schedule automatic updates, click on the floating menu bar inside your workflow and select Automate.
Select how often you want automatic updates: hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly.
Sheetgo will automatically update the data in all spreadsheets.
7. Share the workflow with your team members
Your team members can have access to the forms and help you check in and check out the items.
In order to share the workflow with your team members, click the Share icon and add their email addresses.
How to use an inventory scanner in your inventory system
There you have it! Now your inventory management system is up and running.
Now you can keep track of inventory with an easy-to-use inventory management system and a barcode scanner.
If you want a custom solution or a more complete inventory management system, check out our inventory page.