Is it Really Necessary to Verify Barcodes?

 In 201

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Technology has simplified if not altogether eliminated numerous tasks we loved to hate. What could bespeak “technology” more than barcodes? They are digital and automatic. They store memory that cannot be erased or reprogrammed. They are unbelievably cheap, quick and secure. There is little human involvement in creating or using them, which means almost no opportunity for us to screw them up.

What if you just don’t verify them? What could possibly go wrong?

So glad you asked. Here are some answers from actual use cases.




It is possible to put the wrong barcode on a consumer package at the design stage. This is still a manual operation in pre-press and printing operations. It is also possible to incorrectly place the barcode in the design, damaging the quiet zones or even deleting some of the bars. Technology does not compensate for that.

Big box retailers rely heavily on a robust supply chain. They cannot sell goods that arrive with non-working or incorrect barcodes. They must over-label them, which requires labels and labor to affix them. In addition to these costs, many big retailers will add a damage fee, all charged back to the supplier who will send them upstream to the printer and anyone else who might be responsible. Maybe your company.


Parts storage occupies value space that could be making money manufacturing, so most manufacturers demand just-in-time inventory, which relies on barcodes. Shipment delays caused by malfunctioning barcodes cause downstream delays of the manufactured goods: refrigerators, microwaves, or maybe MRI machines, aircraft engines and automobiles. Chargebacks can be very expensive. Maybe to your company.

Health Care

Drug companies use barcodes much like other manufacturers; tracking ingredients supplies and movement of finished products through supply chains that use the barcodes for security. Barcodes that do not work can weaken or break supply chain security, allowing counterfeit drugs to infiltrate a shipment, sometimes replacing stolen legitimate drugs, all undetected.

Wrongful deaths have occurred as a result, along with numerous relatively lesser damages that are settled in insurance claims, courtrooms and penalties. Maybe against your company.

Photo by Andrea Muti on Unsplash

No, you do not really have to verify your barcodes. There are people who believe that because they have never had a barcode problem, they never will. They may be right. We wish them the best. Really.

If you do not have trading partners that rely upon you or your barcodes, verifying your barcodes may be unnecessary. If you do not have competitors who would potentially benefit from your loss of reputation from non-working barcodes, verifying them may be unnecessary.

For everyone else, it just makes sense to verify your barcodes.

#barcode #verification #quality #chargebacks



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