Supply Chain Legibility Explained
Question: If a barcode scans properly on a busy production line, does that mean “job done”? Can you safely assume that the code will read correctly everywhere else along the supply chain?
Answer: Not necessarily! It’s a concern that’s causing all sorts of issues for myriad companies across the world, costing them time and money, as well as posing a threat to their business reputation. What’s more, if label legibility isn’t 100 per cent at different supply chain points, the resulting delays can see retailers landing suppliers with hefty penalties, dealing a serious blow to their operating costs.
To avoid financial penalties and innumerable other problems, there has to be less reliance upon manual barcode checking. Handheld validation scanners are ideal where a code only has to be checked once on a production line, but across a long supply chain, they can sometimes lack reliability when it comes to accuracy and maintaining production line flow and distribution.
Traditional verification scanners… we’ve all seen them, haven’t we? And many of us will have used them, in fact! They’re quick and easy to use (and therefore massively convenient) for checking if a barcode is correct on an individual product in the manufacturing process and in distribution preparation stages. This can also make stock-taking more efficient as well as accelerating the restocking process at retail outlets and other businesses. But when barcode verification needs to go beyond individual item checking to pallet and case label code checking (under different lighting, at changing conveyer speeds, at a range of angles…) an alternative method of code checking might be called for. That’s where integrated verification comes in: confirmation established automatically – and to ANSI and ISO standards* – in the critical labeling process, through the utilisation of a high-tech incorporated quality control system.
Ensuring the end-to-end success of a barcode checking system can only really be achieved by making integrated verification the adopted approach. Is the correct barcode on the product? Does it match the pallet/case label code? Is the print quality good enough? Has the right code symbology be used? Has the info been properly interpreted by the verifier?
An integrated verification system can be used so that all involved in the supply chain can be unquestionably ‘all on the same page’, being certain that the printed bar-coding and trading partner database system is working perfectly in unison, meaning no interruption whatsoever to supply chain flow at any point.
* ANSI and ISO standards, as laid down the international barcode standards organisation, GS1.