For over twenty years, Sage 50 has been the leading small business accounting software. It enables SMEs to organise and manage their finances effectively. Accounts systems are often the first business software to implement, as they provide a foundation and central hub for data processing and information that the business is built around.
In those early stages of business development and growth, Sage 50 provides a business with the essential basics for managing and reporting their finances. The relatively low volume of demand allows a business to manage their operations manually, but as the business grows, needs become more complex and manual data entry processes become inefficient.
One of the challenges of a growing business is not just keeping track of finances, but tracking the tangible assets that cash is tied up in, namely stock. The ability of a business to manage its stock directly effects critical elements of the business, including working capital, meeting customer demands, labour costs, wastage and write-offs, and the increased overhead costs associated with warehouse storage.
One of the most effective ways to manage stock more efficiently is to adopt barcode tracking. Adding barcodes to Sage 50 stock control enables accurate tracking and stock management, delivering the following ten positive changes to the business.
1. Confidence in the Accuracy of Stock
How confident are you in the accuracy of your stock? If you are still using pen and paper or spreadsheets to count and record your stock, the chances are it could be inaccurate.
Manual recording of stock is prone to data entry errors and can only be used for the very smallest and simplest of business operations. Adopting barcodes and linking them to your stock in Sage 50 enables you to record movement transactions. So stock movement, such as goods received, are recorded and put away, and outgoing stock is recorded via scanning barcodes on mobile scanners. Using scanners and barcodes rather than manually recording simplifies and speeds up the process whilst providing your business with confidence in the accuracy of its stock.
2. Knowing the Exact Location of Stock
Most businesses manually recording stock into Sage 50 rely on a rule of thumb location management process or traditional ABC approach to stock management. These approaches to location management depend on the warehouse managers allocating stock to certain zones and shelf areas depending on certain criteria, such as perishability, popularity, value or size.
Allocating stock using this basic system of priority has been effective for SME’s but requires a lot of man power to manage and only works with a few lines of simple stock. Business operations and warehousing has become much more complex with multiple lines of stock from different suppliers with 100’s of variations. That, coupled with the increase in small picks and faster moving lines due to e-commerce, results in the need for a more accurate location management method.
Barcoding in Sage 50 allows you to allocate stock at various levels to certain areas of the business across multiple locations. It can also record stock locations so the business knows exactly how much stock you have and where. The implications for businesses are better business intelligence, faster processing of orders and improved customer satisfaction.
3. Real-Time Reporting
How do you know when to re-order stock? Or how well your operations are performing? For many businesses that rely on manual stock control in Sage 50, stock control reporting is on an ad-hoc basis and requires a manual process of stock auditing and reconciling with orders before they get a clear picture.
Businesses can enable the linking of their products in Sage 50 with barcodes to gain the advantage of real-time reporting, enabling the business to make quicker and better-informed decisions. Data in businesses is becoming a competitive advantage and businesses that join the tracking and monitoring of stock to their financial accounts will get the big picture in real-time, which will drive efficiency, cut costs, reduce stock holding and improve customer satisfaction.
4. More Reliable Stock Takes
Counting stock with a clip board and pen is a laborious, error prone and tedious task for your warehouse operators. By linking your stock via barcodes to Sage 50, the stock take process in your business will be simplified and sped up.
Barcode labels designed so that they can be human read and machine read will make the identification of products and the reading of barcode labels easier. Mobile computers with barcode scanners cut through the task easily and quickly, as they are linked to the stock held in Sage 50. Completing a barcode audit of stock does not require the stopping of operations, allowing you to count and reconcile stock quickly, safely and accurately.
5. Mobile Working Throughout the Business
Adopting barcode tracking in Sage 50 enables barcode scanning on mobile computers for your business operations. Providing each warehouse worker with a mobile computer empowers them to work wirelessly and access information and communicate on the move. Working without restriction across the entire business, warehouse workers can scan barcodes and process orders quickly and accurately whilst accessing other apps such as business email and work documents. Your business can benefit from mobile working by providing front line staff with real-time information and faster processing of orders.
6. Eliminating Shipping Errors
Relying on manual processes and checks for goods in and goods out opens the business up to human errors such as accepting non-authorised returns, receiving errors from suppliers and processing and sending out incorrect orders.
Linking your products and orders in Sage 50 to barcodes prevents picking errors. As you fulfil a customer order, you scan the items you pick for the order, but if you scan the wrong product or you scan too many the system will tell the operator they have made a mistake. By using a barcode system to scan and process your warehouse operations, you instil a greater degree of security, quality control and discipline into your business operations.
Moving from a manual process of checking orders to one where your stock in Sage 50 is linked to a barcoded stock control system eliminates errors so you can have confidence that your stock and orders are correct. This takes the stress and pressure off warehouse staff whilst providing your management and supply chain partners with peace of mind.
7. Traceability in the Supply Chain
Increasing numbers of business sectors are coming under greater pressure to be able to track their products from suppliers. Businesses that provide products from multiple sources or businesses that manufacture products can track their raw material inputs and finished products using barcodes. By linking your product codes in Sage 50 with batch codes and serial numbers, your business can trace products back to the source and provide reassurance should you ever need to recall or investigate quality issues. Serial numbers are adopted by many businesses in the electronics industry, and when linked to individual products they can provide trackability and improve servicing and returns, if necessary.
8. Improved Customer Service
In recent years, customers have become more demanding and expect a high level of customer service. Certain industry sectors have become particularly sensitive to rising customer demands due to shorter lead times on deliveries and online purchases.
Adopting barcodes for your business allows you to know exactly how much stock you have and where it is, resulting in improved business information that provides your customer services and sales teams with the information needed to satisfy customer demands and optimise the lead times for supplying customers.
9. Legal and Supply Chain Compliance
Do you operate in the food sector or do you supply chemicals, defence or healthcare products? If so, then barcode stock control is essential for compliance and a legal requirement in many jurisdictions.
Products that have the potential to be harmful, prone to counterfeiting or that need to be traceable in case of potential outbreaks of contamination can be more easily tacked and recalled using barcodes. Many businesses find that, as they grow and try to expand into markets, buyers – particularly retailers – will require the business to adopt a barcode for their products so they can sell into the supply chain.
Businesses and manufacturers who do not meet the compliance will not be permitted to supply their products. Adopting barcodes into your Sage 50 accounts system opens up new markets and enables you to meet compliance demands from your customers.
10. Increased Cash Flow in the Business
Cash is king, and cashflow, or lack of, is one of the most cited reasons SMEs go into administration. For many businesses, working capital is tied up in stock, be it raw materials or finished goods, and minimising the amount of cash in stock increases the cash flow into the business.
With extra cash in the bank, you may use the money to invest in other areas of your business or use the liquidity to pay creditors earlier and reduce the costs of debt. Switching from a manual stock control system to barcoding in Sage 50 improves the stock control process, enabling you to monitor stock closely with real-time reporting, total stock accuracy, faster processing of orders and total visibility over stock location.
The greater accuracy and efficiency you have in your stock control processes, the faster stock will move and release the cash invested in it, all whilst enabling you to operate more efficiently.
For more information on how to barcode in Sage 50 or for any other stock control solution queries feel free to speak to our barcoding advisors on 01582 869 000 or visit the website to book a 30-minute online demo of the G-Smart Link 50 software for barcode stock control in Sage 50.