I think everyone have made this same question regarding how do the “Chinos” in Valencia keeps their inventory controls, for me it’s always a very big dilemma each time I enter to one of these stores and think about how a nightmare should it be to keep track to every single product they have in their stores. I observe that many products are identify with barcodes but at the same time there are many that are not. I also notice that their inventory controls are manual, there is usually a man counting and writing how many products are in the shelves, can you imagine how much time they must spent counting each product!! It’s crazy!! (can’t imagine their excell sheet) their products may have barcodes, but they do not fully use their advantages and uses, one of them is clearly having a lector and just scanning the barcodes, this make the process much faster, and with a good information system it can keep track of how many products enter the stores, how many are in stock and how many have been sold.

Working for GS1 Colombia for two years had taught the importance of the barcode identification (although there are many other types of identification). It’s really interesting now to notice the type of identification of different products, I’m usually turning over each product and trying to figure out from which country the product is and other details. Before this professional experience I didn’t notice at all the barcodes and didn’t fully understand the importance of them, how do they exactly work and their advantages, I realize most people are like that, and with this blog I want to explain in a simple way why they are important.

Can you imagine if we didn’t have any personal ID? How many Maria’s, Laura’s, Manuel, Javier are in Spain.. how could any institution can fully identify you, Height? Weight? Haircolor? It’s very difficult because there are so many people and so many differences. So, each country has a local ID number right? but what happen if you want to go abroad, you usually go with your passport number because that number is accepted in any other country.

Barcodes works the same way, there are so many different products and so many characteristics there was a need to standardize and make every business speaks the same language. People ask, what happen if I don’t want to use GS1 Codes and identify my products with an internal number, well, it works like the Local ID situation, it can works with your information system but if you want to share your information with other actors in the supply chain or sell your products in other countries, they are not going to understand the meaning of your internal number, that’s why is necessary to have a standardize number for the hole supply chain.

In the Chinos stores is like being back in the time where there was no barcodes and the local stores had to count everything manual, having no control over their inventory levels and having high human errors. Imgine big retail stores like Mercadona counting every product… in each store in Valencia..Imposible! Barcodes really had improve not only the retail industry but also the healthcare, foodservice, and Transport industry, in the Chinos store case they can improve their inventory control system only by using the barcodes that already come with the product and asigning barcodes to the one who don’t have and with a good barcode lector system, it can make less horrible their control process.

This is only one of the many advantages there are of using barcodes identification, inventory control. But we can find many other advantages that can make logistics process more efficient…. interested? stay tuned for next posts 🙂



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