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Barcode systems / barcode software

Barcode systems provide a method of identifying products with a barcode scanner for purpose of counting them quickly and with a minimum chance of human error. In inventory management, barcode software is employed in the tasks that require counting large numbers of physical items: stock takes, receiving shipments, packing orders, and shipping orders (or transfers).

Example use-cases

Even though barcodes themselves are relatively simple -- they are just an image representing a text string -- the process of setting up your company to use barcodes involves some decisions and varies for different kinds of companies. For example, a manufacturer obviously creates and prints his own barcodes for the items it manufactures, but a wholesaler or distributor or retail shop may choose to use the barcodes already on the parts that it is reselling. Some types of products require lot numbers or serial numbers, so a company may also need to decide how to represent that information in the barcodes.

If you haven't already decided exactly how to implement a barcode system for your company, you can narrow down the options by deciding, (1) Will you use the barcodes already on the parts or print your own barcode labels? (2) What information does the barcode represent, product ID and/or lot ID and/or serial number? (3) If you are printing your own barcode labels, do you want to assign generic barcodes to products on-the-fly or make up specific barcode labels for the products including the product name or product ID on the label also?

Here are some example companies, and how they setup their barcode systems:


Use of barcodes

Castro Medical

Using serial number barcodes printed by user

Solar Tech

Using serial number barcodes already on parts from manufacturer (example video)

Monetti Productions

Doing asset tracking using barcodes printed by user (example video)

KR Granite and Tile

Using sequential barcodes assigned by user on-the-fly (example video)

World 3PL

Warehouse management using mobile barcode scanners (example WMS case study)

KORB Mining Supplies

Using barcodes with lot ID printed by user in advance

LYI, Inc.

Using barcodes for product ID and lot ID already on parts from manufacturer

Sunshine Equipment

Using barcodes for product ID already on parts from manufacturer


Using barcodes for product ID already on parts from manufacturer with traditional cash register checkout process

Security Systems, LLC

Using mixture of barcodes for product ID already on parts from manufacturer and printed by user

Regardless how barcodes are leveraged in your company, Final Inventory is designed to support a wide range of scenarios and has a comprehensive integrated mobile barcoding solution built-in to the software.

Choosing a barcode scanner

From the perspective of interfacing barcode systems with inventory management systems, barcode scanners fall into three categories: (1) "standalone" scanners that scan items into a list that can be imported into an inventory management system, (2) "connected" scanners that connect via Bluetooth or cable to a laptop or mobile device as a virtual keyboard, (3) "smart" scanners that run inventory management software on the scanning device itself.

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Standalone scanner that scans to memory card

Connected scanner (wireless or cable)

Smart scanner running Windows CE

The difference between the first category and the others is that simple scanners record information that you import into your inventory management system as a second step, after scanning the items. Thus if there's a possibility of scanning a wrong item, such as an item that doesn't belong in a shipment being packed for a sale, you won't get any feedback about the discrepancy until you import the list of the scanned items into the inventory management system.

The second and third categories of barcode scanners have the possibility of providing real time feedback from the inventory management system as you scan items. The connected scanners (category 2) additionally present the possibility that laptop or mobile device can display the list being scanned on a large screen with a touch interface. Don't be thrown off by the cable in the second picture; many connected scanners have a wireless connection.

The third category actually includes two very different types of devices: (category 3a) the dedicated scanners that contain computers running a mobile operating system like Windows CE; and (category 3b) generic mobile devices like phones that are capable of scanning using their cameras. The tradeoffs between 3a and 3b are that the dedicated scanners (3a) are reliable, fast, and rugged; whereas the generic mobile devices (3b) may already be owned for other purposes (e.g., a phone or a tablet), but their camera-based scanning is generally not reliable or fast enough for large-scale inventory operations.

Prices of barcode scanners

From online sellers, you can purchase scanners for less than $25 to more than $1000. What a range! Although slightly more expensive, the dedicated smart scanners are the best option for warehouse inventory management operations. They are reliable, fast, and battle-tested in a warehouse environment. Within the built-in memory, the portable scanners are convenient as for the warehouse team members as everything from pick lists and expected incoming shipment information is stored in memory. With everything stored in memory, there is no need to set-up wireless access points or deal with intermittent wifi signals in the industrial setting.

Finale Inventory's mobile barcode solution will work and sync with our cloud-based inventory management software over your wireless network or a USB connected dock with a PC.

Finale Inventory's cloud-based inventory management software and mobile barcode solution will work great for businesses using Mac personal computers. If you are using Mac computers you will need to sync via WiFi from the scanner as the USB connection is only supported on Windows-based PCs.

Finale Inventory does not sell hardware and equipment but we do have recommended partners that provide our clients with outstanding solutions and service. Here is our guide and recommendations on purchasing barcode equipment.

Finale inventory offers a comprehensive integrated mobile barcoding solution as part of our software subscription plans of Gold and above.

Examples from Finale Inventory

Here are example videos illustrating Finale's integrated barcode solution.

Receiving shipment with mobile barcode scanner

More tutorial videos on Finale's integrated mobile barcode scanner solution can be found here.

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"Keeping track of inventory across multiple e-commerce channels can be just as taxing as streamlining fulfillment for online retailers. By partnering with Finale Inventory, we can help alleviate these pain points for our customers.”
Robert Gilbreath, VP Marketing, ShipStation ss


I would highly recommend Finale Inventory to any multi-channel retailer who wants to move beyond Excel spreadsheets to an easy, intuitive software solution to manage their inventory.

We've tried ERP systems at ten times the cost. Finale is the only cloud stock control system that had the depth of functionality to be used as order management software and warehouse management software while still being intuitive.

I would definitely recommend the product to everyone. Its simplicity yet scalability and speed is exactly what every inventory manager or COO must have.
LOX Extensions

Saves everyone in our organization involved with products a ton of time and keeps me from running out of critical goods thus enabling us to grow continuously

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