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Barcode Enabled Inventory Management System for the Successful Pharmaceutical Business Organizations

Authors:
Barcode Enabled Inventory Management
Systems for Pharmaceutical Company. Are you
ready for it?
M MOHAMED SHIRAJ, ALMA SHAMEEM
Abstract:-
This research explicates the advance of
Inventory Management System (IMS).
Nowadays most of the pharmaceutical
companies still manually maintain their
inventories and they face lot of problems in
their day to day operation. IMS require the
frequent identification of things to the
computer. This system is has been developed
for a pharmaceutical company which keep
manual IMS, which has led to the delay to
acquire inventory and having slow inventory
on the shelf. The company also runs out of
some particular stock items that are in
demand at crucial times. In order to
overcome the problem the study proposed
Barcode Enabled Inventory Management
Systems for Pharmaceutical Company
system. The objectives of this system are save
time in stock management and make
automate all other related functions.
Necessary data were collected directly and
designed perfectly hence this system will
provide a best solution not only for this type
of companies but also other retail business
organizations.
Keywords: - Barcode, Inventory, System.
1.1 Introduction
Inventory management is a vital role in every
organization because a moral inventory
management will help to reduce cost and
increase the productivity. Most businesses
involve a continuing flow of material and
supplies in manual way. Basically these basic
methods involved three steps which are when
material is received and added to the inventory,
a new inventory balance is calculated by adding
the receipt quantity to the prior on-hand balance,
When material is withdrawn from the inventory,
another new balance is calculated by subtracting
the quantity withdrawn from the quantity on
hand prior to the withdrawal, From time to time,
for a variety of reasons, it may be found that the
recorded on- and balance differs from the
quantity actually on hand. In these cases, the
records are updated by adding an adjustment to
the on-hand balance or subtracting and
adjustment from it, as necessary. To avoid
disruption of flow, most of them make an effort
to keep track of the item’s amounts on hand. In
small businesses with small amount of
inventories, it is possible for them to remember
the approximate amount of their inventory
records. However, it becomes more difficult to
count the inventories if the amount of inventory
increases and the rate of material flow either
into or out of stock increases. When this
condition happened, some form of record
keeping is needed. Usually, it involved several
people in keeping records. When we concern all
of these activities it creates extra cost in hiring
additional employees and the mean time the
organization has to face some risks initiated by
careless and mistakes done by the employees.
And also it will consume time to manage all of
the activities regarding inventory management.
Therefore, our project goal is to develop a
Barcode Enabled Inventory Management
Systems for Pharmaceutical Company. This will
increase the performance in stock management
by using barcode scanner, to provide wellbeing
manpower in tracking the availability of
inventory with auto featured function and to
manage the inventory successfully by sending
the order to supplier automatically when the
stock is below the reorder level. The case study
is based on the development of Web-Based
Inventory Management Systems of Staatum
Pharmaceuticals (pvt) ltd.
2.1 Technology Employed
Barcode enabled IMS is developed using
Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 as a development
tool and the core language of the system is
[1]
ASP.net with Visual Basic. The database used
for the system is Microsoft Access 2007 and
ADO.NET and XML are used for the data
access technology and it can be hosted on any
Internet Information Server (IIS) that
supports .NET framework 3.5 or any ASP.NET
development server. Besides that, this system
can be deployed in any platform or operating
system that only needs to have a web browser
and do not need any installation or configuration
required. It is also accessible from anywhere
that has Internet access and will provide an
effective method to improve coordination
distribution, storage and access of project
information and data of the production process.
Visual Basic.Net (VB.Net) is chosen for
Graphics User Interface (GUI). The reason
choosing VB.Net is because of with new Web
Forms, developers using Visual Basic .NET can
build Web-based applications that leverage the
rich user interface features available in the
Windows operating system. All the rapid
application development (RAD) tools that
developers have come to expect from Microsoft
are found in Visual Basic .NET, including drag-
and-drop design and code behind forms. In
addition, new features such as automatic control
resizing eliminate the need for complex resize
code. New controls such as the in-place menu
editor deliver visual authoring of menus directly
within the Web Forms Designer. Combined with
greater application responsiveness, as well as
simplified localization and accessibility, these
new features in Web Forms make Visual
Basic .NET the choice for today's Visual Basic
developers.
Database is the key element of Inventory
Management System. Visual Basic directly
supports database file in several formats. The
native format is Microsoft Access, Using the Jet
database engine. For Managing database, the
researcher has selected Microsoft Access 2007.
Now the World’s Most Popular database
program, Microsoft Access has revolutionized
the way business manages its business.
3.1. System Overview
There are four types of user in the Inventory
Management System (IMS) namely Data Entry
Operator, Information Executive, Report
Generator, Sales Representative. IMS allows
creating user groups with allocation of user
rights and access levels for individual groups.
When creating users they can be divided into
these groups with assigned user access rights.
The Information executive can create the
Employee privilege by click on the [New] icon.
Figure Employee Privilege Detail
In the development of IMS, Data Flow Diagram
(DFD) is used for process modeling where it
shows the complete movement of data between
entities, Staff, Management and Information
Executive, and also the process and data stores
within the system.
Figure Context diagram of MBIMS
4.1 Database Design
A context diagram documents the system’s
boundaries by highlighting its sources and
destinations. Documenting the system’s
boundaries by drawing a context diagram helps
the analyst, the user, and the responsible
managers visualize alternative high-level logical
system designs. And the A data flow diagram is
an outstanding tool for summarizing and
organizing comprehensive information about a
system’s boundaries, processes, and data
entities, providing the analyst with a logical map
of the system. The elements of a data flow
diagram lead directly into physical design, with
processes suggesting programs and procedures,
[2]
data flows suggesting composites, and data
stores suggesting data entities, files, and
databases. And the level 1 data flow diagram
shows the system’s primary processes, data
stores, sources, and destinations linked by data
flows. Generally, a system’s primary processes
are independent, and thus, separated from each
other by intermediate data stores that suggest the
data are held in some way between processes.
Entity-Relationship Data Model is a generic
model similar to the object-based data model.
Being a generic model, the ER data model can
apply to all types of nuances in information
requirements. The model also amenable to being
transformed to any particular conventional
model based on the implementation of your
database system. The ER data modeling
technique is a widely used method. Because of
its popularity and widespread use, the notations
and symbols are more standardized. This
modeling technique provides a wider range of
notations to represent variations within each
component.
Figure Level 1 data flow diagram
Figure Entity Relationship Diagram
4.2 Barcode Design
The design of the bar code label can be seen in
[3]
the following figure. The bar code design
components consist of Drugs name, Type, Part
No. and price of the product. These lists of bar
code printed on a constructed catalog sheets
which contain pick lists of the drugs bar code.
This method used because it is not applicable to
stick a bar code sticker on the item because one
bar code representing many drugs but for a type
of drugs. The bar code generated using Label
Magic software.
5.1 Implementation
This stage involves installing all components of
the system that include hardware, software and
training users of the system. The system
implementation phase is initiated after the
system has been tested and accepted by the user.
Activities in this phase include notification of
implementation to end users, execution of the
previously defined training plan, data entry or
conversion, and post implementation review.
The conversion plan for this system is parallel
conversion given the advantage of low risks and
being able to compare performance between the
new system and the old one.
5.2 Deployment
When it comes to web applications specifically,
then the researcher will encounter many
techniques that can be utilized as a deployment
strategy for the web application. The most trivial
technique is to simply copy your web
application files to the production server hard
drive and set a virtual directory there. The
setting of a virtual directory is needed by several
deployment schemes and can be achieved from
Internet Information Manager Microsoft
Management Consol (MMC snap-in). Because
developers typically use the command line order
'XCOPY' to implement this technique, this
technique is typically referred to as XCOPY
Deployment.
'XCOPY' helps to deployment in ASP.NET
where the researcher use the drag-and-drop
feature in Microsoft Windows Explorer, File
Transfer Protocol (FTP), or the DOS Xcopy
command to copy files from one location to
another. The ASP.NET application requires no
modifications to the registry and has no special
installation requirements for the host company
on hosted sites.
5.3 Program Documentation
Program documentation in this system can be
designed based on its user, Data Entry Operator,
Information Executive, Report Generator, and
Sales Representative. System allows creating
user groups with allocation of user rights /
access levels for individual groups. The
Information Executive can create user accounts
and privileges and he can manage and delete
user accounts. The Report Generator can view
all types of report and can get out put as
Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and PDF
files. The Data entry operator can add a new
item to the inventory transaction, edit an
existing record in Inventory transaction,
searching records, filter, data export, add images
to the record and data import and export
operations and browse the inventory information
in several ways like using barcode, keyword,
category and status. All the users can view and
change their profile such as change password
add profile picture. If the user does not have the
privilege to operate certain task the forbidden
message will be appeared. The functionalities of
this system are designated in following subjects
which are Inventory management, Inventory
Data, User Management, Inventory Manage,
Ordering Supply, and System Administration. In
inventory management, there are basic inventory
operations which include inward, outward and
replenishment.
Figure Menu and sub menu items
[4]
Figure Basic Navigation
6.1 Testing And Results
Barcode Enabled Inventory Management
Systems has been well developed and Websites
are susceptible to bugs and malfunctions, such
as broken links, links that go to the wrong page
and scripts that not run properly. Besides that,
there might be browser compatibility problems
because a project may run perfectly on one
browser but may not display properly on another
browser.
6.2 Testing Strategy
Bottom-up testing strategy is used in this system
to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.
Individual objects will be tested in isolation
using unit testing and gradually integrated for
the higher-level integration testing and system
testing. Failed components will be migrated
back to the development phase for rework, and
components that work properly will migrate
ahead for implementation.
6.3. Unit Testing
Unit testing reveals syntax and semantic errors
from the smallest programming unit. In this
thesis, unit testing is used to test each individual
webpage. Errors that are found in a particular
page of the website are thoroughly debugged
and removed before starting to develop another
webpage. Due to the dynamic nature of testing,
there is no proper testing documentation created.
6.4. Integration Testing
When each webpage of a particular Section in
the Inventory Management System passed the
unit testing, integration test was carried out to
ensure that pages are linked in the correct flow
and integrate properly into the entire website.
Integration testing was mainly conducted
according to the privilege that information
executive, data entry, and report generation. All
the buttons, hyperlinks and navigation bars were
tested. Please refer to Appendix E for test
results.
6.5. System Testing
A system test was carried out to test the web
base as a whole when the entire website is finish
and uploaded. It was checked to ensure that it
works perfectly once it’s uploaded to the server
and test with some test data to test whether the
GUI software designs able to communicate with
database and Barcode reader this system is
worked with barcode hardware since the
inventory management system enabled barcode
technology. It also tested whether there are any
broken links in the entire website since it’s
transferred from the local host to another
domain hosting company.
6.6. User Testing
For the user testing, involved two Inventory
department employees and managing director of
Staatum Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd, to confirm
that the developed system meets the user
requirements. User testing shall be done in a
simulated “real” user environment with the users
using simulated or real target platforms and
infrastructures. Therefore user testing for this
system is tested on the researcher’s laptop with a
personal web server. During the user testing
stage, users tested the Inventory Management
System.
7. Findings
The system is user friendly hence little difficulty
is expected in running this application. It will
greatly reduce on the time that it takes capture
inventory information and the time it takes to
prepare monthly inventory reports will reduce
considerably. This will be achieved with only a
click of the button, all the required procedures
for generating reports on the will be executed
with the assumption that all inventory
information exists in the system.
The utmost achievement of the project has been
to develop an online inventory information
management system to cater for inventory and
that can quickly enable managers generate
monthly reports. For example it’s possible for
managers to know the amount of stock item left
[5]
at the shelf plus its monetary value.
Information systems do play an enormous role
in data management of organizations that
employ them. In organizations that deal in vast
inventory, information systems play vital roles
such as improve inventory data accuracy, reduce
lead time, increase the velocity of operation,
eliminate misalignment from process, eliminates
variations in inventory and replenish based on
market demand.
The researcher did establish the strengths and
weaknesses, and it is from this that software was
designed that is implemented to input inventory
information, retrieve and generate the necessary
reports. The system can allow future
adjustments to integrate future demands. The
researcher hopes that the inventory management
system will help Staatum Pharmaceuticals (Pvt)
Ltd will minimize the problems with the manual
inventory system being employed.
8. Conclusion and future works
This system can be a useful system to all level
of users and eliminate problems occurred in
current system especially difficult to maintain
inventories data, inventories’ levels inconsistent
data as the major problems in current inventory
system. The entire system is developed through
System Development Life Cycle (SDLC), which
initialized with planning, analysis, design and
ended up with implementation and testing.
Through this system, all the inventory activities
like input, output, refill and browsing product
can be done using barcode scanner. . User only
needs to scan the product barcode and the details
of the product will be listed out for operation.
Therefore, user can save time in keying product
barcode or details and also prevent the mistake
that may occur when key in the data. Besides
that, all the functions’ links are provided in the
main page. User can directly access to the
function they want right after log in to the
system. The system also can be restricted to
authorized persons only because it has been
adopted a security mechanisms which are user
name, password, and privilege options. These
security mechanisms prevent data corruption.
With the implementation of this system, the
inventory system can be managed effectively.
The inventory system doesn’t need the
combination of two types of systems anymore
which are manual file system and file-oriented
system.
8.1. Recommendations
The researcher recommends RFID technology
instead of bar-code because true automation
cannot be realized with bar-codes, mainly
because the labels need to be scanned manually.
Recently, the RFID technology has been
introduced to give more freedom to ID
processing. RFID is an electronic identification
technology which recognizes data in a
microchip embedded in a tag, a label, or a card
through remote antennas. It is the fundamental
building block of the emerging ubiquitous
computing paradigm. In RFID applications, the
ID stored in a tag is read through wireless RF
communication. The basic functionality of the
application is similar to that of the bar-code
system, but unlike bar-code labels, RFID tags
can be read remotely without putting the reading
device close to the tag. Line-of-sight scanning is
not necessary because RF signals can pass
through most non-metallic objects. Multiple tags
can be read simultaneously as well. Microchips
used for RFID tags are so small that they can be
placed in a sheet of paper for practical use.
Since the tag price is coming down constantly
and the technology is getting more mature.
9. REFERENCES
1. A.Russell Jones ‘Mastering ASP.NET
with VB.NET’.
2. Mattehw Macdonald ‘Beginning
ASP.NET 3.5 in VB 2008.
3. Anne Boehm ‘Murach’s ASP.NET 3.5
Web programming with VB 2008.
4. Michael Morrison ‘XML’ Third Edition.
5. Athula Sumthipala and Sisira
Siribaddana ‘Research Ethics from
Developing Word Perspective.
[6]
6. Dr. Shahram Khosravi ‘IIS 7 and
ASP.NET Integrating Programming.
7. Roger S Pressman David Lowe (2008)
WEB Engineering ‘A practitioner’s
Approach.
8. Sommerville ‘Software Engineering’
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9. Cay Horstmanni (2004) ‘Object
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12. http://staatumpharma.com/ accessed
on August 2010
[7]
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.