A barcode is a rather inexpensive and efficient form of data entry. You place a label containing a machine-readable barcode onto something you want to track, like a shipping box. When you need the information from the barcode, you (or your customer) scan it with a scanner that decodes the barcode, and reports the encoded data.
But what if your customers can’t read the barcode information once they get your product? How do you know that the scanner is reporting the correct data?
You can use a scanner to perform a check on barcode quality and readability. Scanners come in hand-held or desktop versions and capture the barcode information to perform a quality check. The Datamax DMXScan, for example, checks the barcode for good contrast and correct bar width, features that result in a readable barcode. The scanner will fail the barcode if the print quality suffers from problems with print heads or ribbon, bad ink, or improper set up. Then you can fix these problems before labeling an entire stockroom.
If you need complete assurance that you have readable barcodes that adhere to industry standards, then you can use a barcode verifier. A verifier is similar to a scanner; it scans the barcode, then decodes and reports the barcode data. But the verifier can analyze the barcode for both print quality and data formats. For example, the Printronix Online Data Verification (ODV) system verifies the barcodes to the appropriate ANSI specification. As each barcode is printed, the ODV system inspects it and saves the data for quality audits and to prove compliance with customer mandates. So in addition to ensuring adherence to standards, the verifier can also clue you in as to problems with your barcode system.
Scanners and verifiers let you know that your barcodes are readable all along your supply chain. Now you have a way to avoid costly and time-consuming problems that result from unreadable barcodes.