Barcode Quality is Risk Management
Barcode quality is increasingly important: barcodes are used in more critical applications than ever before. Matching a wristband barcode to the medications at bedside dosing in a hospital or nursing home, securing access control at a concert or sporting event, matching luggage to passengers on airliners—these are familiar ways in which barcodes play a serious, life-preserving role. But barcode quality is important for other reasons too.
ISO is changing the way it thinks about quality
Consider the following changes in quality and risk thinking:
- Recommended changes to ISO 45001. “Risk is the common thread connecting supply chain accountability, the market economy, sustainability, materiality reporting and ISO 45001,” said Kathy Seabrook, former president of the American Society of Safety Engineers, adding, “…interconnectedness of risk impacts society, the economy and trade, an industry, an organization, its reputation and brand, its shareholders, business processes, product and service delivery capability, its workers and its supply chain.”
- ISO incorporated risk based thinking into the ISO 9001:2015 and its management systems standards .
- More and more retailers impose charge-backs on their suppliers for barcodes that do not work right
- More and more manufacturing systems reply on properly working barcodes to support their operations. For example robots in automotive manufacturing systems use scanners to read barcodes on parts and sub-assemblies to make sure they are the right parts
Barcode Quality is Risk Management
Risk-based thinking has entered our lives at a personal level; people are increasingly utilizing genetic screening to ascertain their vulnerability to certain cancers, heart disease, dementia and other devastating illnesses. Risk-based thinking makes sense not only economically but also in terms of life quality. Even in these arenas, barcodes are present in electronic health records management, medical device identification, pharmaceutical manufacturing, supply chain data sharing and in other important ways.
Barcode quality is risk management, and is achieved through risk management best practices that begin with verification. Although the test device and test results are often thought to be the essence of barcode verification, in reality it is all about situation awareness. We have heard numerous non-verifying companies claim (we assume honestly) that they have never had a barcode problem and extrapolate from that the belief that they will never have a barcode problem. Experience has proven that they suffer the false confidence of situation un-awareness. They simply do not know how close and how often they have come to the brink of disaster.
Risk management is how a company not only protects itself from liability but also how it behaves as a responsible trading partner. Supply chains and security systems rely on barcodes that work right. Verification provides situation awareness of potential barcode problems as they develop—before they can actually do damage to interdependent manufacturing, supply chain and product tracking and other systems.
John helps companies resolve current barcode problems and avoid future barcode problems to stabilize and secure their supply chain and strengthen their trading partner relationships.
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