QR Inventory system works with a variety of barcode types: QR codes, UPC barcodes, datamatrix codes, as well as with the NFC and bluetooth tags. Which barcode type will work best for your inventory management process? Below is the information on the barcode types for the inventory management and how they work with the mobile devices (smartphones, tablets), that will help you make an informed decision.
Barcode types for inventory tracking with the QR Inventory mobile application
Can I use both barcodes and QR codes for inventory management?Yes, you can track inventory with either QR codes or regular UPC barcodes in QR Inventory system. If your inventory is already labeled with the manufacturer's barcodes, you can use them and not re-label inventory with the QR codes. If your inventory is not labeled, then you can generate and print QR code labels using QR Inventory software built-in tool.
Important! If you are going to use manufacturer's barcode, please do not forget to enter barcode number printed under a barcode in the UPC Barcode Number field. You need to do it when you import inventory or enter new inventory items manually online. When you enter new inventory into the system on a smartphone in the QR Inventory mobile application, you scan a manufacturer's barcode instead of entering it manually.
Can I use datamatrix codes with the QR Inventory mobile application?Yes, QR Inventory mobile application will scan datamatrix codes, so you can use them.
QR codes vs UPC barcodes for the inventory tracking - which is better?QR codes and UPC barcodes work in the same manner for the inventory management - scanning a QR code or barcode provides an inventory SKU / part number to the inventory tracking mobile application. Many online articles will say that QR codes are better than barcodes for the inventory management because QR codes can encode more information. Although technically it is true, it really makes no difference for the dynamic inventory system. If you want a real time, dynamic inventory system, and not reprint QR codes each time you are changing something, the only thing that QR code or barcode should encode is an inventory SKU or part number. All other inventory information is dynamically fetched from the central database when you scan a QR code or a barcode. Both QR codes and regular UPC barcodes can encode inventory SKU or part number.
QR Inventory software has a built-in tool for generating QR code inventory labels. If your inventory is not labeled you can use this tool to generate and print QR code inventory labels. However, if your inventory is already labeled with the UPC barcodes, or you prefer to use internally generated barcode labels you can use barcode labels for inventory tracking in QR Inventory mobile application.
The only time when you may want to use QR code inventory labels vs UPC barcodes is if you want the same QR code to work for the internal inventory tracking, as well as for the customers to obtain an inventory information. In this case you can encode a url that shows inventory or asset information in the QR code - and customers will be able to access it by scanning a QR code label with any generic QR code scanning mobile application. QR Inventory mobile application for the internal company inventory tracking will extract inventory SKU from the same QR code, and allow company employees who are logged into the application to perform necessary actions on the inventory (process inventory transactions, look up inventory stock or inventory item details). This option is not available with the UPC barcodes.
Inventory management with datamatrix codes vs QR codes - which one is better?You may want to use datamatrix codes if your inventory items are very small. Datamatrix codes are more compact, and can be reliably read with a smartphone camera at a smaller size.
Can I use any barcode type in the QR Inventory mobile application?You can use all types of barcodes which are scannable with a smartphone camera (most of them are, but not all). If in doubt, try to scan your barcode with any generic barcode scanning mobile application. If you can scan it, you will be able to scan the same barcode using a QR Inventory mobile application.
Can I generate all types of barcodes in QR Inventory software?You can only generate QR code labels in the QR Inventory software. If your inventory items are not labeled you can use QR Inventory software built-in tool to generate, layout and print QR code labels. If your inventory items are already labeled with a different type of barcode, and it is readable by a smartphone camera (or barcode scanner if this is what you will be using) you can use existing barcodes and save yourself a trouble of labeling inventory.
Can I use my own QR codes for inventory tracking?As long as your own QR codes have a unique inventory id number encoded in them (SKU, part number, inventory line item number), you can use them.
Important! You will need to enter a number encoded in the QR code into the UPC barcode number field.
If you have something else encoded in the QR code inventory label, you still may be able to use it with the customization. Send us a sample or your QR code inventory label and we will be able to tell you for sure if you can use it, and customization cost if applicable.
How do I use datamatrix codes with the QR Inventory mobile application?If you want to use datamatrix codes for the inventory tracking, you will need to generate and print datamatrix code labels outside of the QR Inventory software. Once your inventory is labeled with the datamatrix code labels, you will be able to use them.
What should be encoded in the barcodes that were produced outside of the QR Inventory software?All types of barcodes that you would like to use for inventory tracking in the QR Inventory mobile application should encode a unique number for each asset or inventory line item. This unique number may be the same as your inventory SKU / part number or different, but there should be one-to-one correspondence between a number encoded in a barcode and an inventory line item entered in the QR Inventory software.
How do I scan a QR code or barcode inventory label with a smartphone?Click Scan Barcode Or QR Code button in the QR Inventory mobile application. Keep the smartphone parallel to the barcode label surface, and move it so that a QR code / barcode is entirely within the scanning window. At this point QR code or barcode will scan.
Why there are separate fields for the Item ID and UPC barcode number in the QR Inventory software?It is done for the situation when you have your own internal inventory line item number, which may be different from what is encoded in the manufacturer's barcode. If it is not the case, enter the same number in both fields. You do not have to enter anything in the UPC barcode number field if you are using QR codes generated by the QR Inventory software.
Using radio-communication tags (NFC, RFID) with the QR Inventory mobile application
Can I use NFC tags in the QR Inventory mobile application?Yes, you can use NFC tags with the QR Inventory mobile application, and use a smartphone to scan them. Please note that NFC tags need a very close distance to be scanned.
Can I use RFID tags with the QR Inventory mobile application?Smartphones do not have native support for the scanning or the RFID tags. If you want to use RFID tags you will need to purchase a separate RFID reader that can be connected to a smartphone.
How can I scan NFC tags with a smartphone?Just touch an NFC tag with a smartphone, and it will scan. If you are using NFC tags for the mobile inventory tracking, you can touch assets or inventory items one by one, and they will be scanned and added to the inventory transaction batch. There is no need to click on the scan button and focus the smartphone camera for each NFC scan.
NFC tags vs QR codes for inventory tracking - what works better?QR code inventory labels are less expensive and are much easier to produce - so unless you have a good reason to use NFC tags for inventory management you may be better off with the QR code labels. You may want to use NFC tags for the high volume inventory transactions, as an alternative to a hand-held barcode scanner. Scanning NFC tags is faster than scanning a QR code label with a smartphone camera. All you need to do to scan an NFC tag is to touch it with a smartphone. You can find more information on using various technologies for the asset and inventory tracking here.
I want to know location of my assets in real time and do not want my employees to scan anything. Is it possible with the QR Inventory software?In order to track assets with the QR Inventory mobile applicationa a human has to scan barcode or NFC tag and record a location change on a smartphone. There are more expensive technologies (GPS tracking, RFID) that will allow you to track mobile assets without human intervention. You can also track assets location in real time using bluetooth beacon tags and a bluetooth asset tracking module.
You can find more information on the various asset tracking technologies here.