By July 19, 2012 Read More →

Taking Stock with Barcodes


Whether preparing for a natural disaster, political unrest, or a zombie apocalypse, keeping track of your food and perishables inventory can be a daunting task when stock gets to a certain size.  You have to monitor expiration dates and maintain a rolling inventory of what you have and what you consume.

Many preppers devise some sort of system to keep up with what they need to acquire or replace.  Some of them use spreadsheets, while others maintain handwritten lists.  Neither approach is ideal.

What if you had an inexpensive way to quickly inventory and maintain your supplies?

Bring on the barcodes

Barcode systems are the perfect tool for managing your ever-changing stockpile, because they:

Eliminate spoilage

With barcodes, you automatically know when food items are about to expire. Simply pick selection rules—such as LIFO (Last In, First Out), FIFO (First In, First Out), and FEFO (First Expire, First Out) —when installing your software so you can maximize your stock.

Let you know before you’re low

A barcode system proactively notifies you when inventory is low so you can restock your stash before it’s too late.

Save time and money

Say goodbye to mistakes that come from manual entries.  By automating your tracking system, you will enjoy accurate inventories and prevent costly waste.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3

Barcodes are everywhere now—which is great because it makes barcoding affordable for everyone.  And, it’s easy to set up and maintain a barcode system. A ll you need is:

A printer and barcode labels

There is a printer and label for nearly every type of condition.  For example, if your storehouse is in a basement, you can purchase barcode labels that resist dampness and mold and won’t peel off with temperature changes.  You can also buy a barcode printer that uses insoluble ink or one that thermally transfers ink onto a label.

Barcode software

Many companies make barcode software that simplifies tasks important to preppers, such as setting up and maintaining inventory and tracking assets.  The software will also alert you when supplies are low. Installing the software is easy once you determine the best type for your needs.

A barcode scanner

You may set up your barcode software on both a wireless and a hard-wired scanning system.  This is perfect for preppers who don’t have an Internet connection or are concerned about security.  There are many other convenient features, such as size, color, and durability.

Once you have your equipment and supplies, print your labels and place one on each food item.  Then, simply scan and go!

Start today

You can purchase everything you need from a barcode reseller, who can also offer advice on the best system for your specific needs.  They can even customize labels to add that personal touch to your stock. Some resellers also offer deals on pre-owned equipment, which can save you even more!

[guest-author]Ginger Ebinger is the marketing communications manager for SystemID Warehouse, the nation’s leading value-added reseller of AIDC products and solutions for small-to-medium-sized businesses. An evangelist for all things barcodes, Ms Ebinger routinely shares helpful information that keeps companies competitive. [/guest-author]

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6 Comments on "Taking Stock with Barcodes"

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  1. 'Jesse Banke says:

    Good idea, would be better if there was a little more info on where to get it, how much it costs and how to employ the system.

  2. And what good is the bar code system after an emp?

    • Matt McMillen says:

      None, but before an EMP it seems like a great way to easily keep track of perishables to make sure they are used/resupplied before they expire. 

  3. Bar code is bad idea. You don’t want others to know your business if they can hack the system. They will just come get all your food and know how much you have before they get there

    • Heather says:

      Bar-codes can be set up without the internet and you can always change your bar-codes to mean what ever you want them to mean. People can only hack your computer if you are attached to a wireless network other wise the person has to have your computer.

  4. I use an App on my Android phone called “Out of Milk” It is a free app. They have “Out of Milk Pro” as well that costs money. I’m not sure if the scanning bar code feature is in the free or Pro edition. The app has a Pantry List section and you can keep multiple lists, like Emergency Preparedness list, Freezer, Fridge, Laundry, Medicine Cabinet, and your normal Pantry. It also has the function to move items from the Pantry List to a Shopping List. So as you use your stock and rotate you can move it over to the Shopping List so you know later to pick it up. But the EMP comment above would still be an isse since it is on your smartphone. But you can send the list to your email so it can be printed out at any time. It can be sent by email, Facebook, Gmail, Text Messaging (Nice feature if you want someone to pick something up for you while they are at the store.), Facebook Messenger, or Social Beat (which includes Twitter and MySpace).

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