Magazine Article | June 21, 2006

Reduce Inventory, Checkout Time

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

A bar code printer and scanner implementation boosts efficiency in inventory processing and reduces checkout time at the POS.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, July 2006

Harper’s Cycling & Fitness is a full-service bicycle shop that offers recreational and professional bicycles, accessories, clothing, and repair services. For 12 years, Harper’s has used a POS and inventory system from Edge Technologies, Inc. called the Profit Premier POS/Inventory Control System. The cycling shop periodically upgrades the hardware and software to keep pace with its growth. For example, in 2005, due to its increased sales and sustained profitability, Edge Technologies recommended that Greg Harper, manager at Harper’s Cycling & Fitness, again upgrade the system. At the same time, Harper considered installing a bar code printer and scanner to help manage inventory and increase efficiencies at the POS.

Harper wanted to expedite his inventory reconciliation process and decrease the time it took to label merchandise. “Prior to the upgrade, the process of labeling new merchandise was tedious and time-consuming,” says Harper. “We used one dot matrix printer for all printing at the shop, so printing labels disrupted all other business printing. We used the printer to create 1-inch-by-1-inch product labels, which contained the product number, a description, and the retail price. It took some time to gather this information for new products, switch the paper in the printer, add the sheet-fed labels to the printer, line it up, find the appropriate file, type in the label information, print the labels, and then reinsert the regular paper into the printer.”

The upgraded system included updates to the Profit Premier software, new hardware (e.g. new PCs), a Cognitive Solutions Blaster Advantage LX bar code label printer, and two Symbol LS 2208 bar code scanners – one for each POS station in the shop. The Blaster Advantage LX is a desktop thermal printer that produces 2-inch-wide labels. The bar code scanner has a hands-free stand and can read up to 100 scans per second. The Blaster Advantage was selected due to its reliability, speed (up to 3 inches per second), and metal internal components, as well as Edge Technologies’ experience integrating the bar code scanner and printer with the Profit Premier software.

Faster POS Transactions Enable Improved Customer Service
Today, as inventory comes into the shop, Harper compares the purchase order to the shipment and enters the information, verifies that the product arrived, and makes an entry into the inventory system. An employee uses the bar code scanner to scan the bar codes of each item received. That information is automatically compared with the purchase order information residing in the Profit Premier software. Once the shipment is reconciled, the labels for the items are automatically printed. The labels are then manually applied to each product. “The labels print much faster and there is no need to change the paper in the main office printer,” says Harper. “Additionally, if I need to re-print a label because it became illegible, I can do so using the software without wasting labels, which was a problem with the old process.”  

Now, the labels are ¾ inches wide by 2 inches high and contain the bar code, product description, product number, retail price, and the store name. Harper is able to change the information contained on the labels directly through the inventory software, and has the ability to choose different formats for the labels.

At the point of sale, when an item’s bar code is scanned, that item is automatically removed from the store’s inventory. The old process involved the product number being keyed into the POS system to complete a sale. Therefore, with the new system, each POS transaction is a few seconds faster, which enables quicker service for the store’s customers.