Axicon Visit

 In 101

First day at Axicon Auto ID in Weston-on-the-Green—a completely unexpected location for a high tech company: everything is located in an ancient horse farm, refurbished to house a modern barcode specialty company. Weston-on-the-Green is a very historic area—near where George Washington came from before he went to the colonies and helped to establish the United States of America. There are buildings here that date back to the 11th century.

“Everything” includes an office and staff to produce barcode electronic files for prepress, a complete facility to produce barcoded labels and an electronics assembly area to build most of Axicon’s verifier range. There are 35 people working in Weston.

Axicon offers  complete barcode services including files, labels and verifiers

Axicon’s label operation is configured to support their quick-turn business model: they have the ability to convert their own print stock from master rolls, using their extensive library of rotary and stamping dies. They have the ability to emboss and heat stamp foil labels. And of course they have a battery of thermal/thermal transfer printers capable of producing hundreds of thousands of labels for same day shipping.

The real surprise is the electronics assembly area, where Axicon staff does board-level assembly—not just fabrication from parts and outsourced circuit boards. There is some of that happening but Axicon’s 6000 and 7000 series verifiers are completely assembled right here.

Axicon verifier electronics are engineered and built in site in the UK

But most notable is the family atmosphere conspicuously missing from every other assembly plant I’ve been in—and I’ve been in quite a few. This is a hard working assembly of people who like what they do and like each other, and it’s evident in the air and in the products. Axicon has become a world class player in the verification space, and product quality is an essential ingredient in their rise to prominence.

The reason for my being here is to receive product training and to share reseller experiences and ideas—this is pretty rare in this industry. But one of the first things I learned was that barcode technology, as ubiquitous as it has become, is not regarded or managed the same way across the globe. The Australians and South Africans, and some Europeans are much more concerned about barcode quality than we Americans.

American companies get interested in barcode quality only when there has been a problem. Very few seriously initiate a program to prevent barcode-related problems, even though the barcode is the essential link in the supply chain. The Australians are known for their aggressive pursuit of barcode quality and other are following their lead. Axicon is present in that push, and is widely known and respected in the barcode industry on a global scale. Their market share is growing.

Axicon leads by listening—to resellers and customers

Much of that growth is due to the products themselves, but no small part of it is also due to their responsiveness to customers’ specific needs as reflected in their user interface. Axicon verifiers do much more than just the barcode against the ISO specifications .

In the coming days the training will cover some of the custom applications that allow users to configure their Axicon verifier to test for other important attributes such as conformance to the GS1 specification, of HIBCC, or parsing out the various sections of a GS1 Databar coupon code.

More to come—stay tuned.

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