Every year the testing division of Bar Code Graphics, Identification Labs, evaluates over 10,000 retail barcode shipping labels. Although most retail suppliers are familiar with the barcode certification services we provide to retailers, they are unaware of our function in protecting their interests for supply chain compliance disruptions.
Aside from barcode certification, the other components of our model involve working directly with retail distribution centers and auditing barcode compliance issues which cause a supply chain disruption. Since the larger retailers utilize multiple distribution facilities, a uniform set of procedures and training is required to maintain consistent and fair reporting of barcode compliance issues. When a package or printed label is deemed non-compliant, the samples are provided to Identification Labs for evaluation against the ISO, GS1, and retailer guidelines. If non-compliant issues are validated, Identification Labs sends a supporting communication to the respective supplier, documenting the findings and corrective actions are indicated. In essence, we are providing a layer of legitimacy to safeguard against unwarranted barcode compliance offsets.
When a retailer partners with Bar Code Graphics, they are making a statement to their vendor community that they value fairness as well as supply chain efficiency. Standards, specifically the GS1 Standards, provide a rigid way to define barcode quality and exacting processes to measure that quality. This is why it surprises us when we hear about programs that rely on faxed or emailed samples to test compliance. Such programs are not doing vendors any favors. While glaring errors may be caught, they are not giving suppliers a fair opportunity to confirm compliance. It simply cannot be done by fax or email.
In the same vein, any retailer can acquire a top of the line barcode verifier, but maintaining and utilizing that equipment requires far more knowledge and experience than many understand. At best, great equipment in the wrong hands will provide confusing and useless data. At worst, a compliance or certification program will be backed by this bad data. At Identification Labs all testing processes are strictly controlled and all results are backed by a staff that can interpret and explain them in a meaningful way. Many suppliers utilize our testing services for retailers whom we do not formally have certification programs so they can be assured compliance and avoid potential supply chain disruptions.
Since most retailer compliance models now integrate some form of digital evidence for compliance infractions, suppliers really need to scrutinize the provided information to make sure the supporting information for the infraction is legitimate. We have seen numerous examples where a retailer provides verification reports from a non-GS1 certified barcode verifier or evaluates a barcode with the incorrect aperture. Please do not hesitate to contact us if your company needs some assistance supporting or correcting barcode compliance issues.