Stock Control Systems (2): Basic Methods
A stock card system is probably the most basic form of manual stock control. It is essentially a filing cabinet system. The details of items of stock are recorded on cards that audit alphabetically according to item description or, more commonly, by numerical stock code, with the number containing stock identification digits, a warehouse location code, a supplier identification number, and other relevant details. on a typical stock card, there will be several data fields: description of goods, replenishment trigger quantity, dates received, expiration or removal date, supplier details, batch details, storage location, and per unit value. These fields may be handwritten or computer printed. In high volume or high variety goods scenarios, stock cards record details of the goods stored, so are not specific to stock keeping units. In other words, there will be a stock card for every type of good, not one stock card for each and every single instance of a product in the warehouse.
Barcode systems are probably the most common and cheaply and easily adopted form of electronic stock control. A barcode label is printed from a computer application that converts stock data to a scannable barcode. The barcode label has an adhesive underside that allows it to be stuck to packaging and storage cartons. The barcode label may also feature a long string of digits, which allows operatives to access or input an item’s barcode data when the barcode reader fails or when the printed barcode is damaged or becomes unreadable. Barcodes comprise a series of human- unreadable vertical black lines separated at varying distances. When scanned, the computer reads these distances as code and using that code, calls up from a hard drive the data recorded for that item. Items labelled with bar codes can be scanned manually by operatives using a barcode scanning gun, or automatically, when barcoded the items are moved along a conveyor through a scanning tunnel or between multiple variously angled barcode reader/scanners.