Procurement Apps in the Enterprise: Enabling Barcode Scanning from any Employee Smartphone
The enterprise IT landscape is changing rapidly, and mobility is leading the charge. More and more enterprises are looking to enable a BYOD (bring your own device) environment, and produce employee-facing apps, which can be used from any smartphone. Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at a variety of industries and the business processes which are being transformed by smartphone-based barcode scanning apps.
Today we’ll focus on how the Retail industry handles procurement, and explore how a smartphone-based barcode scanner can help to streamline this process. Here’s the typical procurement process:
1) A retail buyer or manager places a product order by scanning an item, case or standalone barcode from catalog.
2) A vendor assembles the order as specified, and scans each product to subtract it from their inventory before shipping to the retail location.
3) The dock receiver accepts an order from the vendor by scanning a palate or product case, adding items to the store inventory system.
Smartphone-based Scanning vs. Traditional Scanning
In less sophisticated scenarios, procurement is handled without barcode scanning, by manually counting products and by communicating the order to the vendor in via phone or fax. Wouldn’t life be simpler if both the buyer and the vendor were using an app (running on their own or on a dedicated smartphone or tablet) to scan in and out orders? Such an integrated procurement app can automate all the counting and communication traditionally required, while at the same time reducing hardware costs (compared to using a dedicated laser-based or image-based handheld scanner). And for those businesses who haven’t implemented barcode scanning to begin with, there is great value in reduced labor costs as well.
Step by Step Guide for Smartphone-based Procurement
So you’re convinced, it’s time to build an app what needs to happen next?
1) Decide if you want to use an existing solution, hire a solution provider to build one, or build one in house.
2) Decided which platforms you’d like the app to run on.
3) Assess which systems you need the app to work with. Do you use an integrated retail system? A warehouse management system? What kind of database does the app need to connect to?
4) Identify the features you need, and find the best software components to meet your needs
(Our Barcode Scanner SDK is perfect for Enterprise-quality barcode scanning).
5) Build and test your app (or watch it being built).
6) Deploy and Enjoy.
For a great example of a smartphone based procurement app that was designed by a vendor, see our Winterhalter and Fenner case study.
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