Barcode Testing = The Solution

At Bar Code Graphics we understand the importance of efficient product handling and high data quality. That’s why having reliable, compliant barcodes that scan accurately the first time – every time – is not only valuable, but absolutely necessary. Over the years we have established ourselves as the leader in barcode origination, serving tens of thousands of companies from manufacturers to distributors.

With such a large volume of companies growing increasingly dependent on barcodes their supply chain operations, Bar Code Graphics recognized the strong need for a quality testing service.

Identification Labs, the barcode testing division of Bar Code Graphics, is the solution to that need.

This comprehensive print-quality assessment system is the key counterpart to barcode origination. By utilizing a combination of both, our company stands as the unique leader in precisely printed barcodes. Identification Labs remains the largest standards-based testing center for barcode print quality evaluations. The specialized compliance and certification programs that we provide today were borne out of BCG’s innovative spirit and passion for driving the barcode industry forward.

A rise in technology leads to the decline of quality

In the beginning, barcode creation was handled by a small number of specialized groups, primarily for individual item marking. Bar Code Graphics testing services was commonly utilized by various manufacturers to test their UPC barcodes. Good for quality control, but this limited adoption and new applications.

As technology improved, desktop publishing and on-demand printing became widely available, and allowed manufacturers to create and print barcodes themselves. Increased adoption and access unfortunately also contributed to a decline in barcode quality. Among the first to notice were the many large retailers, who experienced firsthand the problems of additional handling, decreased data quality and wasted money that non-compliant barcodes caused.  Large retail grocery chains were especially dependent on first-read scan rates, and the decline in quality was a costly fault in their systems. Bar Code Graphics was unsurprisingly called upon to undertake extensive retail and warehouse audits, where they were able to illuminate the issues.

A larger problem emerges…

During the 1990s, barcodes became integral components in the logistic supply chains of many large retailers and manufacturers. Tens of millions of dollars were spent on the construction of massive distribution centers that relied solely on automated sorting scanners. These scanners would push products in excess of 500 feet per minute – reading barcodes at lightning fast speeds.

In an environment such as this, successful scanning of carton labels was critical to success, but here were $0.20 a piece labels bringing entire multi-million dollar facilities to a halt.

Even though there were “barcode verifiers” readily available to test barcode print quality, many printers, manufacturers and suppliers neither properly understood nor utilized this equipment. In most cases, the manufacturers involved didn’t even have the understanding necessary to take corrective actions. The need for a standardized print quality assessment service became more and more apparent.

Bar Code Graphics becomes the solution 

Many of the larger retailers began to direct their supplier communities to the Identification Labs division of Bar Code Graphics for shipping label certification, knowing that that they did not have the specialized equipment, training, or experience to perform this service internally. BCG quickly recognized a massive industry-wide need for standardized barcode testing, and established dedicated certification and compliance programs for large organizations to utilize.

The basis of these programs was quality standard, accuracy and education.

Whereas certification involves evaluating test samples so a supplier can demonstrate their ability to comply with barcode requirements, compliance program administration involves evaluating label samples that were rejected at some point in a retailer’s supply chain.

However, the same principles apply. Bar Code Graphics approach to compliance programs, utilizing standards and transparency, strengthen supplier relationships by providing a layer of legitimacy between trading partners. Our testing environment and procedures are explicitly defined by global standards (ISO & GS1).   Our feedback to suppliers not only adheres to and supports these standards, but goes a step further in providing correcting actions to results the non-compliant issues.

A major component of the Identification Labs service involves customized web-based portals for research and communication. Our cloud applications allow instant retrieval of all support documentation and in many cases ties directly to a supplier scorecard. These portals are unique to our company and are utilized by numerous departments within each participating retailer and are a valuable resource for suppliers.

It wasn’t long before major retail chains were adopting BCG’s compliance and certification programs for their own barcode testing needs. This prestigious list of clients includes companies such as; Sears, K-Mart, JC Penney, Kohls, Stein Mart, Stage Stores, Sports Authority, True Value and Home Depot.

Bar Code Graphics continues to be the number one trusted authority when it comes to barcode testing and origination. Today, industry leaders from the Automotive sector to Pharmaceuticals to Electronic Components and everywhere in between rely on Bar Code Graphics for supplier barcode enablement and certification services.

The Identification Labs division of Bar Code Graphics is responsible for the evaluation of over 30,000 unique barcodes every year. No matter their industry or application, each and every barcode is held up to the highest standards of compliance and accuracy. Over 9 Certified GS1 US Barcode Professionals on staff with over 150 years of combined experience makes it all possible.

As the most trusted and knowledgeable leaders and innovators in the industry, Bar Code Graphics continues to change the way barcodes are utilized in global supply chains every day.

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  • UPC (GTIN-12)

  • ISBN/Books

  • Medical/UDI

  • Supply Chain

  • Assets/Inventory

  • Coupon

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There are a variety of different types of barcodes. However, the UPC (Universal Product Number) symbol is the most recognized barcode in the United States, since it appears on almost every retail product. The UPC symbol is the barcode representation of the GTIN-12 which consists of twelve numeric characters that uniquely identify a company’s individual product. The GTIN-12 number is part of the family of GS1 global data structures that employ 14 digits and can be encoded into various types of data carriers.

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A requirement for selling a book through booksellers, wholesalers, and distributors is the assignment of unique ISBN numbers for each title and for each book to be marked with a Bookland EAN barcode.

The Bookland symbol allows for encodation of ISBNs (the numbers publishers use to identify their products). Since an ISBN is unique to one particular title (or product), the corresponding Bookland EAN symbol is a title-specific marking which is unique for that title. For example, if a title is available in hard cover, soft cover and as an e-book, three unique ISBN Bookland EAN bar codes are required.

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The FDA UDI Mandate is part of a comprehensive healthcare traceability initiative to improve patient safety.  The Unique Device Identifier (UDI) requirement is rooted in holding each member of the supply chain responsible for ensuring each medical device is marked with a UDI barcode with data maintained on the FDA’s GUDID universal database.

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Supply Chain

Logistic barcodes such as the GS1-128 Shipping Label are used to track movement of a shipment within a supply chain.  Since suppliers are making shipments to a variety of trading partners it is essential to integrate the relevant standards and current technology.  The use of EDI and 2D barcodes which can encode much more data has transformed many supply chains.

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The first step in designing an asset tracking system is to determine whether you are working with assets or inventory.  Assets are any items a company uses internally such as tools, equipment, furniture etc.  Inventory are items which are sold, distributed or used by a company.  The distinction between Assets and Inventory is essential in regards to how the items will be marked, scanned and stored.

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The successful integration of GS1 DataBar Coupons has dramatically improved many promotions.  The interhent features including; value codes and automatic expiration date checking for retailers, has enabled more efficient redemption, much better security and better metrics to measure the performance of a campaign.

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