Managing Inventory for Education

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For those in education, an automated inventory system can be priceless. Schools and universities are responsible for the storage of nearly limitless supplies and books—from front office supplies to classroom texts and full libraries. The information and materials available at these institutions is incredibly valuable; however, without a quality inventory management system, that information can easily be lost or overlooked as materials are misplaced, forgotten, or pushed to the back of storage.

Automated inventory systems make storage efficient and easy for staff to view item availability and retrieve materials without difficulty. Selecting the right inventory system, however, does require forethought and careful consideration. Here are a few key aspects educational institutions should consider when selecting the perfect inventory management system.

Labels, Labels, Labels

0814-barcode01Schools and universities tend to be large institutions with multiple libraries, classrooms, and storage spaces. Any inventory management system should produce labels that detail precise locations.  That way, when an item is placed and recorded in a specific location, there is no confusion  when the item is requested. The naming system for the location should be easy to remember and decipher. Every storage space, including classroom closets, should have their own label.

Without an inventory management system that clearly identifies the location for each item, any inventory process will be slow and inefficient. It is too difficult to remember where particular items are stored without location designations—easily leading to item misplacement. If staff cannot easily read and understand the label for a particular item, it will take much longer to retrieve the item from its storage space, and there will be more mistakes that waste time and money.

Short Item Numbers

0814-barcode02Item numbers play multiple roles in an inventory system. For one, they take the place of longer item descriptions, making it easier and faster for people to store and find items with an automated system. By simply typing in the item number, the system will display the exact location or locations of the particular stock.

Item numbers should generally be kept as short as possible. If the number is too long, it is easier to forget or miscopy the exact number or—if using barcodes—the barcode itself may be too long to scan. Mistakes like this can lead to delays in using the inventory system and difficulty finding particular items.

Easy Automation

Even with automation, the users are the most important aspect of any inventory system. Every individual must understand how the system works, as well as knowing the benefits of using it correctly and the negative consequences if not used or used incorrectly. When people neglect the system and fail to abide by best practices, the organizational control quickly breaks down.

The critical role automation can play in the storage of inventory cannot be understated. The sheer number of materials educational institutions house means that, without automation, more staff is required to track inventory items. A quality automated system that contains the key traits described above will make it easy for staff to use a centralized system and identify a particular item’s exact location without excessive effort. Wasp Barcode Technologies makes it easy for those in education to get the system they need so they can focus on academics and not on inventory storage.

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Brian Sutter

Brian Sutter

Director of Marketing at Wasp Barcode
Brian Sutter is the Director of Marketing at Wasp, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. He also writes and speaks on topics related to helping small business owners grow their business and improve operational efficiency.
Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter