Three Ways to Assure Barcode Quality
As the saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat; yes, most problems offer multiple solutions. That is certainly true of controlling the risk and liability—financial and otherwise—of bad barcodes. And the best approach may not be a single solution; sometimes a combination of solutions is best for a particular situation.
Purchasing a barcode verifier is what every equipment reseller wants clients to believe is the best and only solution to assuring barcode quality: buy a verifier and please don’t call again until you need another one. That is because many resellers are more focused on equipment sales than on technical support. Most resellers don’t know how to turn a verifier on, much less calibrate it or interpret the verification report. And if they don’t understand the technology, how can they match the right device to the end user’s needs? Even if they get the product right, can they be helpful with after-the-sale questions? “I can’t get the verifier to connect to my computer—what do I do?” “My barcodes are getting an F grade but the verifier is decoding them—so they’re OK, right? “ “My barcodes are failing the Decodability parameter; how do I improve this grade?”
And anyway, perhaps a verifier purchase is not the right solution for barcode quality. Take a small printing company where a few people wear a lot of hats, and where time and money is in short supply. A hard-working pressman who takes pride in his work and firmly believes that he produces high quality printing may view the expensive new device as a lack of confidence in him or even an insult to his professionalism.
Using the services of a barcode test lab can be a great way to offload those complications without any equipment purchase. Obviously, finding the right resource is key and these questions can help with the determination:
- Does the lab test with independently certified ISO compliant verifiers?
- Are they calibrated before every test?
- What’s the turnaround time for test results?
- What is their pricing structure? Is there a cost per barcode or a tiered scale?
- Do they help you understand the test results or do you only get a verification report that you have to figure out on your own?
- Do they offer references?
The right test lab can be a great resource for determining barcode quality. A good one should provide at least a mini barcode quality seminar, where you can get an education on ISO parameters and their contributions to the final grade…plus learn how to interpret the test results to improve printed barcode quality…. All the while, you are getting your barcodes tested and controlling your risk and liability. A reputable lab will guarantee their results at least for the cost of the testing.
The third solution is to hire a barcode specialist to conduct a comprehensive seminar for your people. This can and should be completely customized to your specific industrial application, symbology and supply chain; don’t accept generic training. That avoids wasted time and makes it both relevant and engaging for your attendees. While it is possible to construct a virtual seminar, an on-site event will pay for itself in education value. Either way, plan on at least 2-3 hours or more if there are specific problems you need to focus on. If you are also buying a verifier, some distributors are willing to bundle this with a seminar for a great price.
By the way, there is one more option. There are a very few resources (Barcode-Test being one of them) who have the ability to provide all three solutions: equipment, testing, and education. You may only need one, but it will be the right one.
To discuss your specific questions and needs, give us a call at 630-235-6077 or email firstname.lastname@example.org