Article | August 22, 2018

Retail Inventory Management Benefits From Vision & Imaging Technology

By Nick Tabet and Darrell Owen, Datalogic


This is the second article of a five-part series about how retailers can use technology to create a top-tier, modern shopping experience. The first article can be found here: Automate The Retail Supply Chain Using Vision & Imaging Technology.

Accurate inventory is critical to improving the customer experience. Timely and accurate order fulfillment requires high inventory accuracy. The ability to locate items accurately at locations throughout the supply chain provides the most complete and accurate inventory status. 

Imaging technology improves accuracy throughout the enterprise. For instance, at checkout in a retail store, an imaging system accurately captures each item individually. This is in contrast with a cashier who may see three pairs of shoes, assume they are all the same, and enter three of the same item — creating inaccuracy. 

Improving inventory visibility

Digimarc Barcode uses watermark technology to create a unique symbol that can be embedded into printed images, labels, shipping container surfaces, and packaged goods. Unlike traditional bar codes, the Digimarc Barcode is imperceptible to the human eye. Therefore, it can be repeated many times over the six sides of a package — without detracting from its design and without taking up valuable space.

The Digimarc Barcode™ (see sidebar) is a solution for improving inventory visibility throughout the supply chain in multiple ways as explained in the first part of this series .  

Digimarc technology not only offers efficiency benefits for the supply chain, but also reduces the hardware costs of inventory tracking. Instead of requiring five cameras to read a bar code at each inventory checkpoint as is necessary with traditional bar codes, items with the watermark symbols need only one imager. This opens new opportunities for shippers, distributors, third party logistics providers, and others to add more inventory checkpoints throughout the system.

Benefits of accurate inventory

When inventory is accurate, both the retailer and customers benefit. Retailers benefit by ordering the right number of items for restocking, avoiding costly out-of-stock and overstock expenses.

Customers benefit from instantly knowing which retail location has the item they want in stock. Customers get what they expect when they expect it, whether by courier, postal delivery, or in-store pickup.

Imaging and identification technologies help retailers deliver on customer expectations efficiently. However, when providing this level of inventory visibility to the customer, the importance of accurate inventory information cannot be overstated. Worse than no information at all is wrong information that sets wrong expectations and leads to customer disappointment. That is why accurate inventory becomes the key to meeting customer expectations.

To learn about additional ways vision and imaging technology can create a top-tier shopping experience, access the next articles in this five-part series: 

About Datalogic

Datalogic is a global leader in automatic data capture and industrial automation markets and a world-class producer of bar code readers, mobile computers, sensors for detection, measurement and safety, vision systems, imaging technology and laser marking systems. Datalogic offers innovative solutions for a full range of applications in the retail, transportation & logistics, manufacturing and healthcare industries. Datalogic products are used in over a third of the world’s supermarkets and points of sale, airports, shipping and postal services.

About the Authors

Nick Tabet - Vice President, Product Marketing

Nick is responsible for leading Datalogic’s Product Marketing group for fixed retail and transportation and logistics scanning applications to develop market-leading solutions for supermarket, grocery, mass merchandise, and drug stores as well as courier, express, and parcel logistics companies.

Darrell Owen – Vice President, Retail Sales Support

Darrell has over 30 years of experience in the development and implementation of industrial automation systems for manufacturing, transportation, distribution, and warehousing.  He currently supports field teams implementing supply chain solutions at retail enterprises.