Finding the right bar code tester can be challenging. You immediately have to dive into some pretty technical issues just to try and figure out what you need, and then you have to figure out who you can trust to buy it from. It can be overwhelming. Maybe the best place to start is to ask yourself if you really want to do this yourself. Using a bar code testing service can be a great alternative to buying the equipment, learning how to use it, keeping it calibrated and figuring out how to interpret the results.
To learn more about bar testing services, what you should look for and how to decide who is best for you, click here to read a recent article about bar code testing services.
Finding the right bar code tester does take some research but it can be broken down into bite-size steps. The first step is making sure the bar code tester device is truthful. This sounds self-evident but buyers beware—not all verifiers (that’s what a bar code tester is called) tell the whole truth: some of them only tell partial truth.
Truth in bar code testing is the ANSI/ISO specification for bar code quality. The specification includes 9 attributes or parameters, each of which is measured and graded. Some verifiers don’t measure all 9, and therefore don’t tell the whole truth about the quality of the bar code. Each of the 9 parameters is important enough to be included in the specification. None of them should be omitted or ignored.
Step two is to make sure the bar code tester will test the type of bar code (symbology) you need to test. Not all verifiers test all bar code types.
Step three is to make sure the bar code tester is compatible with your working situation. What do you need to do with the bar code tester report? What if the bar code tester needs a host computer? What if it’s portable? How easy is it to get the test information out of the portable device and into your computer so you can merge it with your job records, save it, print it or email it?
Step four is ergonomics. How easy is the bar code tester to use—and how reliable and repeatable are the results? Years ago, wand scanners were the only way to get full ANSI/ISO tests, but the test results weren’t very repeatable—they were greatly influenced by the user’s experience and technique. You don’t have to put up with unreliable wands to get accurate, repeatable results.
Step five—get the best warranty. The best equipment will always have the best warranty. One year is an industry standard but there are a few manufacturers who offer a two year parts and service warranty.
And finally, don’t just shop for price. Price is important, but don’t forget, a bar code tester will fulfill several critical functions. Consistent quality bar codes on your products will keep your customers happy and loyal, and will save you charge-backs and fines from unhappy retailers, and will protect your good reputation.