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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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16–27. Record Inventory Transactions with Radio Frequency Communications

Even if a company uses bar codes to accurately record inventory transactions, this still does not address the problem of timeliness. A person could scan a bar code into a portable device but not upload the data to a central database until the end of his shift, resulting in a significant shortfall in database accuracy. If the materials handling staff tries to solve the problem by routing their forklifts past a fixed terminal in order to enter information, they are creating longer putaway or picking routes that contribute to reduce labor efficiency. Further, if a company tries to install a warehouse management system, it will be working with transactional data that could be hours old, probably resulting in incorrect putaway or picking instructions to the staff, as well as inaccurate inventories for cycle-counters to review.

The solution is radio frequency (RF) communications. This takes the form of a handheld or truck-mounted computer, frequently integrated with a bar code scanner that communicates by radio waves with a central warehouse database. For example, a person picks a part from stock, scans the item’s bar code and the location bar code from which it was taken, and enters the quantity withdrawn. The portable unit immediately transmits this information to the central database, along with a time stamp, so that the quantity in the inventory location is adjusted and a picking record is created that can be ...

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