There are many types of stocktake scanners available. They can differ by the operating system they use to the way they communicate back to their host or system they are sending data to.
A stocktake scanner is basically a PDA barcode scanner. It has the ability to not just scan a barcode, but also collect multiple fields of information such as quantity, location, serial #, date/time stamp and more. The reason that it can do this is because a stocktake barcode scanner will use some sort of PDA application software to program it to carry out the stocktake. This application software can range from being free to costing thousands of dollars.
Since i always try and save my customers any software costs for development, i try and target the free PDA application software first.
If we only need to collect the scanned data during a stocktake, and just have to get that information down into excel or even as a csv file/text file into a designated location, then you might be able to save yourself thousands of dollars. The reason is that some manufacturers of PDA scanners offer free development tools.
These development tools can allow you to program the stocktake scanner to capture data such as item barcode #, quantity, location, date/time stamp etc and even more. You can even load a stock list on your stocktake scanner with these free development tools.
Many companies are more than happy with this outcome and can then send this scanned data from excel straight into their back-end systems. We use a tool called the Forge Application Generator. As mentioned, there are other development tools around but we are very happy with the outcome using this tool and so are our customers.
For other customers though, this may not be sufficient. The reason could be is that they are doing frequent rolling stocktakes. Maybe even once a month. One recent customer we came across does stocktakes once a week. So having to export data from excel into your back-end system is too manual and laborious if you have to do this that frequently. You really need a solution where you can do a stocktake and it uploads seamlessly back into your system when you upload the data.
If you are one of those customers, then either a program has to be written for the stocktake scanner, which could generally costs several thousand dollars. Sometimes, it may also be worthwhile for the customer to contact the software vendor to see if a solution has already been written for the stocktake scanner to interface into it. If not, as mentioned, be prepared to pay several thousand dollars +.
Some customers also have no warehouse management system (WMS) at all. Only an accounting system…..which is not a WMS. It maybe worthwhile checking out a WMS that has a stocktake capability. Look for a WMS that has the capabilities to communicate with a stocktake scanner. Could be a much cheaper option than re-inventing the wheel and getting application software developed. The added bonus also is that you will be able to use the stocktake scanner for scanning goods in (receipting)….scanning goods out (Dispatch) and even picking orders.
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