Inventory management for small business. A simple how to tutorial



if you run a small business you know exactly how time-consuming and expensive inventory management can be today I want to show you some of the technologies and techniques we use at our high-volume print shop to keep everything organized when I first started my business inventory management was one of our biggest headaches we were constantly thinking that we had items in stock that we didn't we were constantly making special runs to the store or making emergency phone calls to our suppliers because we just didn't know what we had on the production floor we needed to come up with technologies that were fast and efficient while some of the old inventory systems worked they were so cumbersome and because of the amount of packages we were receiving and sending everyday it wasn't really realistic to think with such a small staff that we would be able to implement them and actually keep them up to date so what we did is we started to look at ways we could integrate QR codes into our inventory system and how we could seamlessly manage our inventory so I'm going to show you two examples of exactly how we did this and I want to show you first the iPhone or the smartphone so this concept is pretty simple we have a QR code reader on the iPhone and then for each inventory item that we have around the shop we create a unique QR code that goes to a specific URL the URL then connects to our database and reads first of all how many items are in stock and then it brings up an interface that simply allows the user to change them so they could add one or subtract one the nice thing with this is that as the users or as people are working in the shop they can open up their iPhone application they can scan the inventory item they're working on and then they can quickly either deduct or add to the inventory so it's very very good at keeping it accurate and as you saw there that took me less than one second I didn't have to go back to a computer and the nice thing is is because most of the employees already have smartphones there's almost no energy on our site to integrate the technology they just connect to our Wi-Fi they can bring all this information up here and when you open the URL you get a lot more information that you could possibly get just by glancing at it while it's on the shelf the biggest issue that we found with using the smart phones is that when we started to scan a lot of inventory it started to get a little cumbersome because while it only does take a couple seconds each time when you multiply that out and you had 50 items or 20 items that you had to scan each one of these started to get a little time-consuming so I went to some of the big-box retailers like Home Depot and Nordstrom's and I noticed that they were using a device like this this is a linear profile they also make a linear profile and a version for the iPad what it is is a cradle for an iPhone or an iPad that lets you quickly scan inventory and let me just show you exactly how it works once this is open all I need to do is press this side button and now I'm able to scan inventory faster than I can type the information in and the other nice thing with this is it accepts a huge range of barcodes so the other thing that we did in our shop is that let's just pretend that we wanted to start selling Red Bull well the problem is is when the delivery driver keeps bringing us our cans of red ball I don't want to go and specifically stay stick a QR code on each one I could have the QR codes sitting on the rack where we load the the Red Bull up and each person could sort of add them add to the inventory as they load the boxes but an even simpler solution would be to associate the UPC code which is the unique barcode on the Red Bull cane to one of our unique QR codes so in the web interface what we've done is allowed you to enter a UPC code or a three of nine barcode and associate it with an individual inventory item so for example when I scan this red ball can it actually associates it with a QR code and then it brings up the inventory information for me and from here I can then add or subtract and apply it so now I don't need to rely on having stickers all over my office we can just use existing barcodes and QR codes and existing information that's on this can and a smartphone in a cradle to manage the whole system and not only that we can do it at a speed that it's faster to do to do the inventory system correctly than it is to ignore it it's you can receive ten items in less than a minute and there's no paperwork there's no extra processes or steps it's really about as efficient as we could possibly think I really don't know how this process could be made any faster so I don't want to go into how we program the web application because I don't think that's within the scope of this video what I really wanted to do was just introduce to you how you can start to make you our QR codes with unique URLs you can then match them to individual inventory items and you can start using your smartphones to start managing inventory and while there's going to be some cost on the development we're not talking huge amounts of money and it's relatively small amounts of data to be associated here there's lots of examples online of how to do this it gets very very easy to integrate a web application and then a QR code reader like this or a smartphone that has the capability of reading QR codes directly into your web interface and inventory management system make sure you subscribe to this channel we're going to be making a lot more videos about small business and inventory management we hope to see you soon

43 thoughts on “Inventory management for small business. A simple how to tutorial

  1. ok here's how you can make it even faster since you said you don't know. in the barcode camera have 2 buttons for taking the pic. one for sale, another for adding to inventory. and a 3rd button to connect to the link where you can input more than 1. just need to disable the automatic scan but it's no biggie. or no need for 3rd button if you have a timer like keep it there for 2sec and it'll go automatically.

  2. don't fall for the qr code trap. phones can scan barcodes as well. the thing with qr codes is it's slow and requires more expensive yet typically slower 2d barcode readers (unless you win the lottery and get a somewhat faster model). so if you at some point choose not to use phones you can use any 1d barcode scanner than scan scan the item to the speeds of 3x a second or however fast you can click the thing and still keep in count. you should by default have the action of selling anyway, cos stock arrives in far fewer times than it is being sold! that's the way to to make it more efficient, to not have to insert manually how many got sold or were added in the inventory. scanning everytime something is sold would only take a second or 2, but having to manually choose everytime whether it was sold or added to inventory is many times slower.

  3. i have made an inventory system that only need your phone and it use your camera to read the QR without any app
    with much better UI
    it let you track what did you sell and when. and what you add to the inventory too

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  5. great vid. Question if I may, I run a small ebay.com store online. The inventory and the listing part of my small business take up so much time. Is there a way that I could scan the barcode of my products and get that information on to a spreadsheet in one click. for example when I click the scanner on a product and I have my computer open to just a web search it will pop up the item with all the information and cost. when I scan the barcode on to my spreadsheet all I get is numbers. help if you can. thank you.

  6. I want to integrate something like this at my current job. That or just go play guitar and do YouTube full time, they work me too much right now to be able to do any editing. 🙁

  7. This is great! I love the way you broke it down. I just started using Sortly Pro: they have a new app that makes keeping track of my stuff soooo much easier! It really is pretty awesome. It makes QR codes and barcodes, too.

  8. Inventory management should always be one of your priorities. Research from the IHL group shows that the worldwide retail economy is worth a staggering $14.5 trillion. However, this figure could actually be substantially larger. Poor inventory management is one of the issues that stand in its way. The same report mentions that companies worldwide lose $634 billion a year from items that aren’t in stock and $472 billion from overstocking items. Combined, this leaves us with an astonishing figure of $1.1 trillion. Lost due to inventory management issues.

    Inventory management tends to be one of those tasks that online retailers palm off to another member of staff, or leave to the last minute, but if you let your inventory get out of control, you could find yourself losing money. Things can get complicated when you start selling on more than one channel, and online sellers encounter problems when managing their stock such as:

    -overselling products when something is bought on another sales channel
    -mistakes and inconsistencies due to human error
    -having to dedicate more time than they’d like to managing their inventory when they could be spending time focusing on other aspects of the business

    Like these guys have, think about implementing inventory management software tools like inventory or order management software to avoid disappointing your customers and keep your stock organised and consistent between your sales channels.
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  9. Looking to use QR code on a item that's to be delivered and installed. I want my employee to be able to scan the QR code and have a blueprint or layout plan for the current project pop up to show him where it needs to go and a picture to assure he/she is installing the correct item. (possibly with a link to a you tube video giving installation instructions) Or to notice an item missing and be able to look at the blueprint or layout for the current project and click on the item diagram missing to order it from the warehouse.. does this exist ?

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