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Founded in 1978 by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, The Home Depot created the “do-it-yourself” retail concept. Today, The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement retailer with over 2,200 retail stores. The reliance of barcoding at the point-of-sale has been instrumental with The Home Depot’s growth and the company has identified barcoding as a crucial element to improve their supply chain efficiency.

Challenge

The Home Depot established a network of Rapid Deployment Center (RDC) to expedite supply chain processing. The RDC warehouses were designed to increase the efficiency of restocking store shelves and the quick deployment of essential products resulting from weather related factors. A critical component of the RDC model relies on high speed barcode scanning of product and cases. Although The Home Depot required UPC item and ITF-14 case level marking, the quality and accuracy of the barcode symbols was never measured for compliance. Consequently, the efficiencies of the RDC network were compromised by non-compliant barcode symbols.

Solution

The Home Depot recognized they needed rely on GS1 standards in order for the global supply chain compliance and work with an experienced testing center capable of assisting their entire supplier community. Rather than work with a hardware (verifier) or software company, it was important to The Home Depot they direct their suppliers to a dedicated and unbiased barcode testing center. Bar Code Graphics established a barcode certification solution to which has enabled their suppliers to comply with their item and case level barcode identification.

  • Our work on this project included;
  • Authoring new comprehensive barcode guidelines which are harmonized with the GS1 General Specifications and provide suppliers a blue print to facilitate compliance
  • Establishing a dedicated testing web portal for The Home Depot suppliers and corporate. The web application provides testing results and archived digital images of certified samples and corresponding analysis reports.
  • ISO/ANSI Barcode certification for every package and label size provided by their suppliers.
  • Educational assistance and corrective recommendations provided to suppliers who are deemed non-compliant.

Results

Today the RDC warehouses have increased the number of units per hour they process, both for incoming and outgoing products. Initially this program was rolled out to only domestic suppliers. Due to the recognized success of the program, the solution was expanded to Home Depot Canada and also overseas suppliers. Bar Code Graphics established a testing center in Shenzhen China to specifically assist The Home Depot import suppliers.

Barcode certification by Bar Code Graphics is now an integrated component of their global vendor onboarding process.

  • UPC (GTIN-12)

  • ISBN/Books

  • Medical/UDI

  • Supply Chain

  • Assets/Inventory

  • Coupon

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UPC (GTIN-12)

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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ISBN/Books

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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Medical/UDI

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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Assets/Inventory

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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Coupon

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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Bar Code Graphics

Bar Code Graphics