How Important is Barcode Quality?
The importance of barcode quality is not a rhetorical question. Barcode quality is very important. Barcodes are the connective tissue that holds supply chains together. Bad barcodes used to be just a checkout line inconvenience; now they can mean life or death. But what about a real life, daily life perspective?
The UPS Perspective on Barcode Quality
Here is a feature panel from DC Velocity magazine:
If the cause of the delay was a non-working barcode, how long do you think it would take to get resolved if you were a UPS driver out on deliveries? Most barcode problems take a lot longer than 5 minutes to solve, and $105 Million is a lot of money.
While we’re talking about UPS, here’s another insight into how important time management is for them—and how much we can infer about the importance of barcodes.
Considering how automated the UPC package handling process is, the impact of a bad barcode could trigger a chain reaction long before the package gets on the delivery driver’s truck. Non-reading barcodes shunt packages into staging areas. There a human resolves the problem and gets the package back into the sortation system. Sometimes this delays delivery. The entire system depends on the barcode working right.
A barcode Problem of 1% of drivers = 90 minutes lost
Ninety minutes…if 1% of the UPS drivers experience a barcode problem on May 10th. How many delivery charges would UPS have to absorb. What would that cost?
The statistic and the notification both illustrate how important barcode quality has become. There are two essential components in what barcode quality means. The first is the structural integrity of the data encoded in the barcode. The UPC symbol of 30 years ago is a smaller, simpler data set than the barcode on a UPS label, or an FDA compliance label. The other component, print quality is no longer the sole concern. Barcodes are playing a central role in complicated, extremely time-sensitive systems. They absolutely, positively must work. The risk and liability, and lot of money hang on these two factors. That is why barcode quality is more important than ever.
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