What Are the Different Types of Inventory Management Equipment?

Whitney Leigh White

In order for any type of business to be successful, it must effectively manage its inventory. Many businesses implement some type of inventory management system and equipment so that they can keep a detailed record of their inventory levels. When a business has too much of a good, it endures tax burdens and increased operational costs; however, when it has too little of an item, it endures a decrease in sales, which ultimately leads to a decrease in profit. There are many different types of inventory management equipment that a business can utilize to assist in managing its inventory. Inventory management often includes software programs, barcode printers and scanners, radio frequency identification tags and readers, and other types of handheld devices.

Portable devices can be used to scan and account for inventory.
Portable devices can be used to scan and account for inventory.

Vendor Management Inventory (VMI) systems are used in many businesses and often use a handheld device. This device is a transmitter that allows a business’ distributors and/or manufacturers to keep complete control of its inventory. The transmitter collects data and then organizes the data into reports. These reports are used by vendors to let them know exactly when to restock. This type of inventory management equipment does, however, make it difficult for a distributor of goods to meet demand levels of popular items.

RFID tags are a great way to manage inventory as they allow electronic data to be accessed quickly and easily using a RFID reader.
RFID tags are a great way to manage inventory as they allow electronic data to be accessed quickly and easily using a RFID reader.

Barcode inventory management systems also use a handheld inventory management equipment device. A barcode device is commonly utilized within the United States because of its price advantages and accuracy. Barcode devices include scanners that simply read the barcode labels that are printed on a business’ inventory items. A barcode scanner is compatible with almost any type of point of sale (POS) system, which allows a business to keep complete inventory sales data records. This data is often used to identify which items are the most popular and which items are not selling.

Modern POS systems are usually linked to software which can be used to track, analyze and report on sales, greatly aiding inventory management.
Modern POS systems are usually linked to software which can be used to track, analyze and report on sales, greatly aiding inventory management.

There are two types of Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) that are utilized with RFID inventory management: passive and active. Passive RFID inventory equipment is similar to barcode management equipment in that a handheld device is used, but the device has a longer reading range than barcode readers. In active RFID inventory management, fixed tag readers are installed throughout a business, and, any time a product with a tag is passed under the reader, it is recorded within the store’s inventory management data.

Some businesses choose to utilize a software inventory management system. This type of system only requires a business to have computer inventory management equipment. The software is uploaded to the computer(s) and all inventory management data is manually entered in. A software equipment-based system does help in creating detailed analyses, invoices, products labels, and more, but most businesses find it more cost-effective to utilize software equipment with other types of inventory management equipment, like barcode labels and readers.

Some smaller companies may still track inventory manually.
Some smaller companies may still track inventory manually.

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