Two Barcode Match Case Histories: Validating Ingredients

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Use Case 1: Specialty Fulfillment

A specialty fulfillment company receives bulk quantities of various consumer-packaged candies and repackages them for seasonal promotions. There is a Valentine’s Day collection, an Easter collection, a Mother’s Day collection, etc. Each contains a different, very specific set of candies. Some sets are peanut free, to appeal to a special, allergy-sensitive customer so it is very important to avoid certain peanut-containing candies in those packages.

Relying upon the packaging worker to do this has proven to be unreliable. The bulk packs all look nearly identical. A very simple barcode match system ensures that the items on the work order match the barcode on the bulk pack.  Since this solution has been in place, errors have dropped dramatically. Customers are happier and more confident of their received shipments. The reduction in mistakes has also resulted in greatly reduced costs from wastage.

The solution is a fixed mounted scanner installed by the bulk pack-breaking table, where the worker places the bulk pack just before cutting it open. Before each re-packaging operation, the system is programmed by scanning a barcode on the work order. The scanner, connected to a control box, compares the barcode on the bulk pack to the scanner on the work order. A light stack on the control box signals a “good match” green light or a “mismatch” red light and a loud audible alarm.

Use Case 2: Commercial Bakery

A contract bakery has started using a barcode match system to prevent using the wrong ingredients in their recipes. Bulk bags of ingredients are pre-marked with barcodes. Mixer operators match the barcodes on the work order to the barcodes on the bulk bags to ensure that only the right ingredients are used. This has significantly improved the bakery’s ability to comply with specific claims that are important to their customers on their products, such as Non-GMO, Vegan, Not Containing Peanuts.

The solution is a small, handheld scanner programmed by scanning the barcode on the recipe or work order. The scanner signals a “good match” with a solid green display and an appropriate audible tone. A mismatch is indicated by a solid red display and a very different audible tone.

Various scanner form factors work in this type of operation. The scanner described above has a wrist strap, although the scanner is small enough to be pocketed. A hands free Bluetooth scanner mounted on the back of a glove is preferable in some operations. It communicates data to a host device in a pocket, from which an earpiece can signal a match or mismatch to the operator.

The beauty in barcode matching is that it simply works. It is also inexpensive and it will pay for itself many times over in errors prevented and satisfied customers who become increasingly confident and loyal to their high-performing vendor.

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