Why Barcode Test?
“I’m Jeff. Not so much on writing but I got this invite to tell about being a quality guy, so here goes. I got a degree in QA management a few years back. So far it’s been good move for me and my family but not without some—let’s call them “adventures.”
After the degree I got this job with a printer—big company getting bigger buying other companies. It’s nuts–constant schedule pressure, people coming and going or just not showing up, and lately, stress about quality—especially barcodes. For a long time I thought the stress was just drama—exaggerated.
When they hired me they’d been doing barcodes on product labels for years and never had a problem. I guess they had a close call or something because they hired me but it was no big deal, just a scare or so they said. “Never had a problem, never will…”—that was our belief. If we got a job with some weird barcode I’d whip out my iPhone just to make sure everything was good. NBD, lots of other stuff to do. Customer always provided the barcode file, we just used it—not our deal if it was good or bad—it was the customer’s property.
Well one day it hit the fan. Barcode wasn’t working and the customer was “concerned”. Well in truth they were red hot. They got a quality write-up from their customer, some big store they were supplying and along with the write up was a bill for something like $40K and a threat to cancel their contract.
The letter referred to an ISO standards violation with the barcode. I heard all about ISO in school and me and a lot of other guys thought it was a scam. The company thought so too but they kept up with the audits because marketing said it was important.
We tried everything we could think of to convince them the barcodes were probably OK. The iPhone scanned them fine, they looked pretty much like every other barcode we’d ever printed—and besides, the barcodes came from them. They weren’t buying it and we were in deep trouble and so was my job. I ate a pile of humble and called for help. I called Barcode Test and they really helped me out.”
Is Jeff familiar? Do you work with (or for) him? Is he you?
Barcode Test is for Jeff. He is why we are here—and he is right about some of his beliefs. The ISO standard does not guarantee that a 4.0 grading barcode will scan perfectly everywhere, or that a 0.0 grading barcode will fail everywhere.
Jeff is also correct that ISO compliance can be important for marketing but real compliance goes much deeper, into the work culture. Only then does it live in the work output.
That is what Barcode Test does for Jeff and his company. We help him provide barcodes that are an asset to their customer. Poorly performing barcodes are a liability impacting the product owner, packaging from design to print, movement through the supply chain, the retailer and final user. A bad barcode costs everyone at every level.
Barcodes are portable, disposable memory. On its long journey a barcode is expected to work in a vast, unpredictable set of variables:
- Environments ranging from classified clean rooms to grimy manufacturing plants
- Uniform ambient light to spaces with intensely varying lighting
- Old laser scanners with rough handling histories
- Newest imager-scanners
- …and a host of other use-specific variables
Assuring barcode performance is all about identifying and controlling the variables. Barcode Test can help.
Give us a call—and let us know that Jeff sent you.
Barcode Test LLC