Handheld Inventory Scanners: The Pros and Cons

A good inventory management system, which often includes the use of handheld inventory scanners, can help companies simplify the daunting task of inventory management. In a nutshell, inventory management helps companies strike that perfect balance so they maintain a level of inventory that’s neither too low nor too high. Either of those extremes translates to lost revenue, an erosion of consumer trust, or both. If you’ve got too little inventory, you’ve got to turn customers away, and you can’t assume that they’ll return. Too much inventory, on the other hand, means you’ve got items that sit on your shelves, take up valuable (and costly) storage space and eventually become outdated. You’ve either got to discount them or discard them. Inventory management requires a level of precision that eludes most of us. And besides, your inventory numbers are changing all the time. Who has the wherewithal to keep up with it manually? A formal inventory management system, then, is imperative, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re or a large or small company. “Outsourcing” this function promotes better accuracy, efficiency, and accountability, and allows you to focus on your other business priorities.

As you begin the hunt for an inventory management system, depending on which solution you choose, handheld inventory scanners are often involved. There are pros and cons associated with this technology. The pros include the portability of handheld inventory scanners. In many cases, you can pick them up and take them wherever they’re needed around your warehouse or elsewhere. They’re offered in models that include a variety of features. Some, for example, are built to withstand extremes in temperature. Some are powerful enough that they can scan items from nearly any angle. The cons include cost (depending on their sophistication, the scanners can be expensive) and the opportunity for loss, theft or premature breakdown.

Handheld inventory scanners vary in their degree of sophistication. They generally include one of the following types of scan engines: laser, linear imager or 2D area imager. Laser scanners, while limited to linear barcodes, are usually the most affordable option. Linear imagers, while more expensive and unable to read 2D barcodes, are capable of reading damaged barcodes, even in poor lighting conditions. Finally, 2D area imagers are the most versatile. They read both 1D (linear) and 2D barcodes, even when they’re badly printed or otherwise damaged, and can scan from any angle. And – you guessed it – they’re usually the most expensive variety of handheld inventory scanners. Among these varieties of handheld scanners, you can find corded or cordless versions. It’s important to note that the cordless versions do have ranges, some more limited than others. Corded versions work for short-distance scanning and are relatively easy to use.

There has been a technological evolution, however, when it comes to inventory management solutions. Forward-thinking companies have discovered a way to create mobile inventory scanners – in other words, scanners built into an app on your smartphone or tablet. Asset Panda offers the most powerful, yet an intuitive version of this technology, with a free app (available in both iOS and Android) that includes a mobile barcode scanner, plus a robust suite of completely customizable features and an interface that’s incredibly easy to navigate. Asset Panda also syncs with the cloud, so your inventory data is always served up in real time 24 hours a day. This cost-effective platform saves you time and money while eliminating guesswork, errors, theft, and loss.

To learn more about Asset Panda, or to start your free 14-day trial, visit assetpanda.com


Courtney Roush

Courtney Roush is a freelance writer, editor, and communications strategist with 25 years of experience. Her favorite discipline is crisis communications – and it’s a highly relevant one in our present times.

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