Why You Should Verify Your Barcodes

Last month, David wrote a post about barcode standards and verification. He also pointed out that most of us don’t verify barcodes. So why should you?

The reason barcode verification is important and should be done is because it is the method of ensuring with certainty that you are printing good barcodes.

Automated systems exist in every industry; materials handling in a manufacturing environment, diagnostics in a lab or medical office, and stocking in retail stores for example. In these situations, barcodes are used and required to be readable each and every time with a scanner.

So if you are printing labels with barcodes, you need to be sure that your barcodes are readable at any point in time. That means either you hope you print perfect barcodes all the time, or verify the barcodes to make sure. Since perfect barcodes become not so perfect if ribbons become wrinkled or printer heads wear out, you need barcode verification.

Verification is done during or after printing. You want to eliminate bad barcodes before shipments, or find faulty barcodes before putting them into one of your own automated systems. Why does it matter? For the person scanning the barcode, a failed barcode means manual data entry, chance of inaccuracies, and a slowing of important processes. Imagine these scenarios:

  • You purchase widgets from a supplier that are an integral part of your assembly process. The receiver on your loading dock scans but doesn’t verify the barcodes. Some of the widgets with faulty barcodes are put into inventory so now some of the information for your MRP is inaccurate. This misinformation results in an understock. You need to sort out the problem with your supplier and wait for another batch of widgets to be sent. In the meantime, your assembly process halts because there are not enough widgets in inventory.
  • You print barcodes for a customer on materials that can be difficult to print on or scan. You don’t verify before you ship, and the customer receives products that can’t be scanned due to low contrast issues. The customer requires you to reprint the entire order and you incur costly rework expenses.
  • You supply products to an industry that mandates specific standards, such as the AIAG specifications for the automotive industry, or MIL-STD-130 for the Department of Defense. You don’t verify that your barcodes meet these standards, so your products are returned to you and you aren’t paid for your work.

The cost of bad barcodes can be high. You don’t want to be fined by a customer or lose their business if the products you send them can’t be scanned. And if you are receiving products, you want to be sure that you can scan the barcodes and keep your systems running efficiently.

The cost of a verifier is minimal compared to the costs associated with faulty barcodes, so why risk it. Let us help you with your barcode verification.

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