Code Match Part 2: Kitting
Kitting is specialized packaging—putting all of the parts together to form a complete kit; hence “kitting.” How do you ensure than the kit is complete and all the various parts are there?
Code match is the best way. But if code match is a one-for-one match of a “master” barcode and its clone, how can code match work when the component parts of the kit are not all identical?
The answer is data parsing. Consider the following case:
Vendor Company identifies its parts with a barcode consisting of a part number bearing a prefix P followed by a serial number prefixed S. The barcode may also contain additional fields of data such as color, variations in what the part is made of (aluminum, ABS plastic, 3D printed, cast iron, etc), source location, etc. Often these differences are reflected in the Part Number but if they are not, the code match system can be instructed to ignore them. If a rule, or a set of rules can be written to define which part of the barcode should be matched, a code match system can be developed to match the master to its clones in a kitting line.
The part number need not be located at the beginning of the barcode, but it should be consistently identified by its prefix. In the GS1 system the prefix is an Application Identifier (AI), but in a proprietary or closed-loop system it can be anything and anywhere—as long as the prefix is consistent.
It simplifies things if the Part Number data field is always the same number of characters, but it is not a deal breaker if it is variable in length—as long as there is an AI that follows the Part Number that can be written into the rule. However, code matching requires that the data string in the clone is identical to the master in every way including length.
It is not essential that the master and the clone be identical barcode symbologies—you can perform code matching on a master that is UPC and a clone that is Data Matrix, as long as the data fields are identical.
There are available code match devices based on portable data terminals with on board scanners. The pre-loaded applications by necessity very basic, doing 1-to-1 or 1-to-Many code matching. These systems almost always include the ability to transfer scanned data to a host PC or network server via a cradle which can also recharge the PDT’s batteries. Some systems allow for extensive customization via optional SDK’s and/or fee-based technical expertise.
The sky is pretty much the limit for how sophisticated a code match system can be—and it tends to be true that the more complicated a kitting requirement, the more error prone and therefore the more important a code match system can be for assuring order accuracy and customer satisfaction.
Barcode-Test offers a variety of code match solutions, including a handheld range including a very simple, low cost hand held device and a more feature-rich PDT. We also offer a range of inline solutions starting with a mid-price pre-packaged system.
John helps companies resolve current barcode problems and avoid future barcode problems to stabilize and secure their supply chain and strengthen their trading partner relationships.