Barcodes: Necessary Feature or Textbook Inventory Management Roadblock?

By Jessica Zaleskibooks without barcodes

There are important situations where barcode scanning is an important feature for your inventory management solution. In a school where textbooks are individually assigned to students or teachers, it is critical for accountability to have the capability to identify each individual book and its “owner” by the unique barcode number. This link means that when materials are returned, the actual “owner” is given credit even if the book was handed in by another individual.

But there are as many, if not more, scenarios where tracking instructional materials by a unique barcode is more of a hindrance than help. When working with class sets, as many elementary schools do, there’s not much value to knowing the barcode number of each book. In these cases, it is more efficient to manage inventory by quantity count, rather than by barcode number.

The Inventory-By-Quantity Method

Transferring existing, unused inventory between schools is a cost savings opportunity districts across the country are turning to in order to be responsive to instructional classroom needs. Why wait weeks or pay rush shipping charges to get the items you need from vendors when you already have them gathering dust in a school? With an inventory-by-quantity methodology, a district can easily adjust the number of textbooks at one or more of their sites by transferring inventory between schools without scanning each individual item. Just think about how much time your staff would save when moving 200 books from one school to another by simply recording the title quantity to complete the transfer.

Also, when performing time-sensitive inventory tasks, like an inventory audit at the end of the school year and adding new inventory, many systems will require that each individual item be scanned to perform these processes. Scanning can be a tedious procedure that keeps schools from tracking and managing inventory with the limited time and resources available.

How to Choose the Right System

When looking for an inventory management partner, ensure that the system you choose has the flexibility to track inventory by both barcode and quantity. Choose a system that offers the capability of managing your inventory in a way that truly supports your goals and acknowledges your challenges. Bryan Squyres, the Textbook Materials Manager at Northside Independent School District in Texas, said that using a system designed for textbook management has made his staff much more efficient.

“As a high mobility district, one of our first criteria was a solution that minimized the time spent handling materials,” he said. “We could not commit our resources at the central or campus level to a system that required a lot of scanning.  TIPWeb minimizes this aspect of inventory control and that was critical for a fast growth district like ours.”

The Hayes Software Systems’ TIPWeb-IM application offers a unique textbook inventory methodology process that will save time, resources, and money that no other system for K-12 offers. Find out more here.

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