Verifier Shortcomings: Things your verifier doesn’t do
Verifier shortcomings are a neglected side of the barcode verification science. Product literature and over-enthusiastic resellers would have you believe that nothing can go wrong as long as you have XYZ Companies latest verifier and it just isn’t so.
Verifier shortcomings are simply not disclosed by manufacturers and resellers
Data sheets list product attributes, not verifier shortcomings and resellers—especially online discounters, often don’t know. They just want to close the sale.
Overall the largest single factor for these problems is the ANSI specification for barcode quality. For sake of clarity, we will discuss linear barcodes only. The ANSI spec addresses 9 attributes based mostly on reflective properties. What other attributes are not checked by ANSI?
Verifier shortcomings are critical attributes beyond the ANSI specification
Symbol type or symbology is one example. A contract printer with what seemed to be a solid barcode quality program came to us with a problem: they had printed several hundred thousand consumer product packages, verifying them rigorously and getting consistent, acceptable ANSI grades. Their client, who had supplied the barcode graphics file, was very unhappy: the Codabar symbols he printed should have been EAN 13 symbols. Did the verifier tell him they were Codabar symbols? Well yes it did. But he was looking only at the ANSI grade.
Another example we saw recently was even more subtle. The verifier correctly identified the symbology and graded it; once again, the client was satisfied. But the human readables beneath the barcode didn’t match the decoded information as reported by the verifier. Somehow the bars and spaces in the barcode didn’t match the human readables. Somebody in stripping or graphics did something very creative—and disastrous. Once again, heads rolled. Once again, the verifier did everything it was designed to do, and the human operator failed to notice.
Verifier shortcomings are actually operator error, not equipment failure
These are verifier shortcomings. Call it pilot error, complacency, plain ignorance, reseller neglect, whatever. The smartest component in the verification process is not the electronic device. It’s the user.
Do you have examples of verifier shortcomings? I’d love to hear about them.