Warehousing, Barcoding & Stock Control
Fiscality provides built-in and tightly integrated serialised barcoded stock control functionality – it’s the heart of the application and provides fantastic stock visibility and trace-ability. Many automated functions stem from the barcoding functionality and a huge amount of manual input and record keeping is eliminated as a result.
Warehousing and Production
- Right from the moment stock is received from suppliers (based on a supplier purchase order), stock can be automatically added to the database without manual entry, delay or possibility for error.
- The every item of stock, you’ll know when it was ordered, received, split and its current warehouse location.
- Each barcoded item can have unlimited information tagged to it, for example, batch number, expiry date & safety certificate (important in some industries where its vital that the correct stock is issued).
- Stock balances are immediately updated when stock items are scanned in and out from the warehouse.
- Fiscality provides fast and accurate stock information at your fingertips, with full audit trail breakdown for both goods-in/out and stock movements. In addition to having accurate stock balances, you’ll know exactly where stock is located across multiple locations and sites, with unlimited flexibility.
- In manufacturing and conversion businesses, raw materials are issued to production, processed by one or more resources (machines, people & external suppliers) and finally converted into finished products.
- By creating finished products, Fiscality will automatically update raw materials stock based on the bill of materials (BOM), which can be one level (i.e. 5 parts in a finished product) or multi-level (multiple sub assemblies). There is no reasonable limit determining how a product can be configured, and it’s very easy to view the collapsed and expanded BOM.
- For those businesses that offer stock on sale or return (SOR), Fiscality can easily track this stock as with any other stock location.
- Each barcoded stock item and location can have its own availability type, specifying how easy this stock is to obtain, perhaps in the case of potentially committed stock, or with cross-country/cross-border warehousing. Fiscality will automatically choose the closest stock item for order picking and you’ll always know the exact stock in hand.
Multi-Site & Multi-Location
- In Fiscality:One stock locations are linked to a site, and multiple sites can be stored in the database to reflect the warehousing of the business. Depending on the actual workflows and administrative setup of how these locations/warehouses operate, each site can either be a sub location of the main site (MySite\SiteA\LocationAA), or a sub location of a separate site (MySiteA\LocationAA).
- The setup of multiple sites provides distinct operational unit for users – Users, Groups, Products and Accounts are also linked to Sites. By default there is one site in the default database.
- Even if there are multiple sites, the stock items are still stored in the same table – it’s the stock locations themselves which are linked to a site.
- If the organisation has multiple sites, each with its own customers, suppliers, products and stock, then this is the ideal use case for multiple site records, particularly where similiar business have, for example, been aquired and the administrative tasks are separate. All records are stored in the same database, which makes consolidated financial reporting and accounting easier, but there is a good degree of separation, without the need to maintain separate databases.
Barcode Labelling (Additions to Stock)
- Stock is added to the database via Product Additions and uniquely numbered barcode labels can be printed and placed on each product as they arrive from suppliers and from the production line (raw materials and finished goods) – both are additions into stock.
- Each barcode is a unique record in the database and linked to a location (which is linked to a site).
- Each barcode can have a quantity of greater than one, and depending how stock is recorded, split and shipped, you can create a single barcode for any quantity, i.e. 125, that shows the barcode has 125 of that product within.
- When you create an addition for finished goods on the production line, Fiscality:One will automatically update the raw materials stock based on the Product’s Components (Bill of Materials / BOM).
- Additions into stock is via a easy to learn touch-screen interface, optimised for speed and ease of use, and does not require a mouse or keyboard, ideal for industrial environments.
Barcode Printers – we use Zebra
- Barcode labels can be printed onto any printer via an editable report.
- By default Fiscality:One provides label definitions for Zebra printers, which are very reliable, fast and economical to run.
- Zebra provides reliable Windows printer drivers and the printers themselves have in-built hardware fonts – ensuring a high degree of fidelity and reliability.
- If not using a Zebra printer, or a printer especially designed for printing barcodes, you will need to use a Windows TTF/OTF barcode font, of which many are available, and software is required to create the Code128 barcode, as these are checksumed to ensure scan accuracy.
- The checksum software required to print barcodes on other printers using Windows fonts is provided by Fiscality:One as a 32bit ActiveX DLL compatible with Crystal Reports XI.
Different types of barcode scanner
- Fiscality:One can utilise any off-the-shelf bar-code scanner able to scan Code-128 barcodes – there are specific scanners for certain environments:
- Ruggedised (and generally more expensive) scanners are better suited for heavy industrial environments or where the environment poses challenges to consumer grade devices.
- Long-range scanners are able to read barcodes from several metres away (depending on print quality, size and visibility) – these scanners are useful for reading pallet bar-codes from the ground and can often negate the need to have a fork lift down the pallet from on high – very useful for fast stock checking where access to higher pallets and their labels is challenging and time consuming.
- Computerised scanners have a small integrated computer running a compact operating system, generally Microsoft PocketPC or Android, however older scanners can run various flavours of proprietary DOS or Unix. Computerised scanners are very useful when it’s necessary to interact with the user upon scanning barcodes – and can also have a link to the database via WiFi.
- Laser scanners emit a red laser reflected outwards by a small motorised or piezo electric mirror that’s moving very from side to side, which appears from a distance as a horizontal line within which the barcode is scanned. Barcodes can be read from both directions and generally from a reasonable distance. Laser scanners are very reliable and very fast. Generally, the larger a barcode is, the further away it can be scanned, within the design limits of the scanner.
- CCD scanners operate by processing an image of the barcode via a charge-coupled-device, a less complex version of what’s used in standard cameras. CCD scanners also come in both standard and longer range scanning options, however they cannot come close to the long-range ability of laser scanners.
- Scanners have different connectivity options and need to be able to operate offline-batch mode for use with Fiscality:One
- Keyboard scanners appear to the computer as standard keyboard by sending each barcode individually as if entered manually on a keyboard, generally via a carriage return after each barcode.
- Bluetooth scanners can connect either as a keyboard or in RS232 serial mode which does so via a virtual Bluetooth COM port, which appears to Windows as a standard RS232 hardware port.
- RS232 Serial scanners communicate via a serial connection and can have either software, hardware or no flow control to detect if communication was dropped or the buffer overflowed during communication.
- Scanners that appear as a keyboard are adequate, however, care must be taken to ensure that nothing interrupts the download and nothing can switch the focused GUI window whilst in progress, otherwise the data will be sent to the wrong window potentially causing mayhem, especially as carriage returns are appended to each scanned code.
Stock Takes and Database Correction
- It’s inevitable through human error that errors will creep into the database and Fiscality:One makes them very easy to both find and correct.
- It could be the case that a stock-item was moved to another warehouse location without updating the system, or stock was returned from a customer and not recorded back into the database. It’s also possible that a stock item is shown as shipped to a customer, but was missed by mistake from the transport and was later found in the warehouse.
- Every item of stock is stored in a location, so each location scan be scanned, either individually, in groups or as a whole, and checked against the stock that was supposed to be in that location.
- Newly found stock items can be investigated:
- If the item should have been sent to a customer but not previously scanned, it can be scanned as a shipment and billed.
- If the item should be in another location, it can be moved to the correct stock location.
- Missing stock (stock items with a balance quantity of greater than zero) can be investigated:
- If the item was scanned as a shipment to a customer but not sent, it can either be shipped as normal or scanned as a return and a credit issued.
- If the stock is lost, it scan be scanned as an adjustment, and the stock will be written off (with a full audit trail).
- If the stock’s whereabouts is unknown, but has not been shipped or damaged and discarded, it can be moved to a ‘in query’ stock location and this stock will be flagged as unavailable – to ensure that it doesn’t effect visibility of actual available stock.