How Barcode Verifiers Help Avoid Costly Mistakes
Written by Ian Slack
Printing a barcode for packaging, shipping, or the countless other places it’s used today may seem simple. All that’s required is that the correct information is captured when it’s scanned, right? Producing acceptable-quality barcodes is actually a lot more complicated, and if not done correctly, the consequences can be significant.
What is Barcode Verification?
Barcode verification is the process of analyzing it to ensure the quality meets the standards set by the International Standards Organization (ISO), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and industry groups like GS1. Barcode quality should be checked at all supply chain stages—from raw materials to the finished product—to be certain it’s readable, accurate, and complies with the barcode standards. Having a barcode verifier allows you to ensure problems are found promptly and fixed before production.
Why a Barcode Scanner Can’t Be Used to Test Barcode Quality
Barcode scanning simply tells you that your own scanner can read a specific label. In applications where barcodes will be scanned by multiple facilities, using different equipment, and where 100% readability and accuracy are critical, verification is a must. ISO and ANSI quality measures are the only way to guarantee barcodes can be read regardless of the scanner.
Verification ensures that the barcodes meet existing ANSI and ISO standards, which helps guarantee that any scanner that follows those standards should be able to read the code. In most verification settings, the solution assigns a letter grade (A through F in the case of ANSI) or a numerical score (4 to 0 under ISO/IEC standards) that indicates the quality of the code. Generally, if a barcode receives a C (or score of 1.5) or better, then it has passed and should be 100% scannable.
Avoid Barcode Headaches
- Eliminate chargebacks: Not getting barcodes right can quickly snowball into a major financial and logistical headache for manufacturers and suppliers. Big retailers impose significant fines and chargebacks that run in the thousands of dollars if labeling falls short of their standards. Considering that chargebacks typically slice two to ten percent off a manufacturer’s overall revenue, preventing poor barcode quality is very important to the bottom line.
- Reduced packaging waste and expense: Without practicing proper barcode verification, you put yourself at risk for wasted packaging and increased costs generated by the batches of product labeled with barcodes that failed to scan.
- Guaranteed compliance with industry requirements: If you are using true barcode verification technology, you can rest easy knowing that you are in full compliance with your industry standards. In addition, with readable barcodes you can avoid the fines and other penalties associated with shipping out-of-spec labels to retail customers.
- Improved barcode label quality: Using barcode verification, companies can quickly diagnose and fix print errors that lead to unreadable barcodes. Just because you can scan the label you just printed doesn’t mean that your trading partners will be able to do the same. Barcode verification ensures that your labels will be readable across the supply chain, and keep distribution operations running smoothly.
Your Reputation Counts
Following best practices for barcodes not only spares you the headaches listed above, but it keeps you on good terms with your customers. You don’t want to gain a reputation for bad barcodes. Customers may decide to stop doing business with you.
People gravitate towards reliable suppliers. Contract and industry compliance means that there are no delays caused by imperfect information along the supply chain, and the correct data is delivered every time an item is scanned.
Not sure? Partner with an expert
If you have verification questions, Stratix is here to help. We have decades of experience in the field. The use of barcodes in retail was just getting started when we began in the early 80s, and we helped set many of the implementation standards, defined guidelines, and served as subject matter experts on advisory councils.
Today, we remain a leader in the field and can help talk you through any issues you face and recommend the right solutions for you.