Barcode Verification is Risk Management—and So Much More

 In Barcode Quality Training

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We have made the case in previous articles that barcode verification is risk management. We stand by that truism, but barcode verification is so much more than just risk management. That is just the actuarial side of business. Business is people doing business with people.

How often have we heard bad behavior justified in the name of “…this is just business, it is not personal.” As if the means— any means— could be justified by the ends they accomplish. Nonsense.

Means and ends dance in a delicate balance. We do not always get it just right, and that is just human. We try and do our best. But means are held to the same high standards as the ends they pursue. Risk management is certainly an aspect of the imperative to test and grade barcodes, but barcode verification does a lot more than just manage risk.

Means do not intrinsically Justify the Ends

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A barcode verifier test report is a datum point. Over time, repeated verifier tests create a slice in time, like a fast-motion film clip. A print run of, say, 1 million labels takes 10 hours. A verifier report taken every 30 minutes compresses the entire job into 20 verification reports. Maybe nothing extraordinary happened during that time. All of the ISO parameters remained static, unchanging. Or maybe, and more likely, one or two parameters could be detected migrating slowly toward the threshold of a tolerance.

From a risk management perspective, this begs a calculation: when will the tolerance on that parameter be breached and how many labels will be non-compliant. Are those numbers acceptable given the cost of interrupting the press operator to make adjustments? If the number of possibly non-compliant labels is statistically acceptable, why not just finish the run and move on to the next job. That is risk management.

Businesses do not do Business. People do Business

The very same event, viewed from a customer-oriented perspective, will reach a different conclusion. The trending data predict a point of failure; well-before that threshold, adjustments made and the effect on the trending trajectory confirmed. This is the customer’s expectation. Often it is not clearly articulated. This is ironic considering those things that are always articulated, price and due date, are not as important. How could a job done on budget and on time but with poor quality be justified?

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Barcode verification predicts that a barcode will work wherever it goes. Globally accepted standards of quality are the basis for this prediction. These standards also form the basis for the promise you make as a printer or brand owner; a promise to your trading partners that the barcodes you provide support the supply chain, the inventory and transaction systems that rely on that barcode.

Sure it is just business. Business is people.

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