The Cost of Barcode Verifying—and Not

 In 201

Multiple times—and in multiple ways—we’ve addressed the issue of barcode verifying from a cost perspective. We have acknowledged how expensive barcode verifiers are, relative to barcode scanners. We have discussed the total cost of ownership of a barcode verifier which, like a car, has an initial outlay (price) followed by ongoing maintenance, which includes re-calibrations, re-certifications, the occasional factory repair and the eventual price of replacement.

Like many (I hope all) of you, my personal world is larger than barcode technology, although I love this industry and love the work I am privileged to do in it. My larger world is nourished in a number of ways, including Seth Godin’s excellent blog. His feed today speaks eloquently and honestly to our industry and the truly-believed but often confused objections sometimes expressed about verifying barcode quality.

Here is what Seth says in the October 16, 217 feed entitled Price vs. Cost:

Price is a simple number. How much money do I need to hand you to get this thing?

Cost is more relevant, more real and more complicated.

Cost is what I had to give up to get this. Cost is how much to feed it, take care of it, maintain it and troubleshoot it. Cost is my lack of focus and my cost of storage. Cost is the externalities, the effluent, the side effects.

Just about every time, cost matters more than price, and shopping for price is a trap.

In barcode technology generally and barcode quality in particular, cost is more relevant than price, although cost of ownership must be taken into consideration. For example there are devices available that are represented to be verifiers but are not certified, compliant test devices. What do the test reports produced by such devices mean? Are they authoritative?  To an ISO auditor, the answer to both questions is a conclusive “No”. But are they less expensive?

The question begs another question. If the reports from a non-compliant device would not be acceptable to an ISO auditor, and would not reliably signal a problem or the lack of a problem with a barcode, why is price even a consideration? That is akin to someone who has been diagnosed with a serious ailment shopping for a resource (a therapy, a medication, or a surgeon) that is not specifically qualified to address the issue—including claimed or cleverly misrepresented “solutions” that may be utterly unqualified. This is where cost and price get confused.

Even if the price of an un-certified test device is substantially less than the price of a certified device, the test results from which one would you rather rely upon in a contended chargeback situation with a valued, up-until-now loyal customer?

Then there is the extreme—the “verifier” isn’t even masquerading as a qualified device: it’s a scanner or, worst of all, a smart phone. This is the extreme not only of the mis-directed, confused price vs. cost point of view, but also the extreme of adding to the cost with time wasted pretending (or actually believing) to be doing something meaningful.

It’s not about price—and it seldom ever is. As Seth Godin says, “…cost matters more than price and shopping for price is a trap.”

Follow this link to read more of Seth Godin’s excellent writing and subscribe to his blog feed.



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