Little Compromises Bring Big Problems in Barcode Quality

 In Barcode Advice

The long term cost of small compromises in barcode quality can be huge. This can seem to be unimportant, but they grow into major factors that can lead to regret or even damage to a business.

Little Compromises in the Purchase Decision

Buying a barcode verifier based on cost might seem wise, or at least a minor compromise. A verifier that is not ISO compliant will not reliably test and grade the attributes of the barcode. A critical attribute that is failing may not be reported at all, or not grade it accurately. What you think is a good barcode may not scan A wand-based will produce variable results based on user skill and technique. Which verification report is accurate, the one with the better grade? The one with the poorer grade? A used verifier—even a high quality, expensive one—bought from an auction site or a private seller may not be worth the great price if it is out of specification. Furthermore, older verifiers may not test for data structure such as GS1, UDI, HIBC or other industry standards.

Small Compromises in Usage

It is a common mistake to consider a verifier to be nothing more than a scanner; scanners require no maintenance but verifiers need daily or weekly reflectance recalibration, and should be re-tested for ISO conformance in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. Deferring these basic maintenance steps can have future consequences in the form of unexpected chargebacks.

Another silent form of compromise is when your customer’s barcode quality requirements are vague, optional or altogether unstated. This can lull a supplier into believing that barcode quality isn’t important, and poorly performing barcodes bear no consequences. What seems like the perfect customer is actually the perfect storm that probably will eventually hit. And there is no justifiable reason for being unprepared. More to the point, as a vendor, this scenario offers a fabulous opportunity to proactively educate and nurture that customer, for two very important reasons:

  • If you don’t somebody else will
  • a bad barcode will abruptly end the dream and the customer will seek blame and compensation
  • a proactive supplier can earn loyalty and justify a realistic level of additional compensation

Reliability has Value

Reliability has value. Although it is the owner of the package who bears first-line responsibility for a bad barcode, bad news infects the entire food chain. Create a conversation that champions reliability, starting with yourself: you hold yourself accountable for the quality of the barcodes you supply (or buy, or use, or receive). State your barcode quality expectations clearly and simply: “We require (or create, or supply) ISO compliant barcodes at a C or better grade level.” Trust…and verify: require a verification report to accompany every order (or shipment, or invoice) bearing your barcodes.

Little compromises can sabotage the future of  your business.

Bad barcodes disrupt inventory systems, supply chains, trading partner relations and future business.

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