Change in Barcode Standards = Solution Adjustment

There’s something your business does better than anyone else.  You exist in a unique world of details, rules, and ideas that would be utterly foreign to others.  Your understanding of those things is what enables you to support your customers.  In our business, our understanding of barcodes, change in barcode standards and shipping labels is what enables us to support you.

The standard by which we judge barcode print quality has been in place for sixteen years – a lifetime in the business world.  The change in barcode standards devised in 2016 and being implemented now in 2018 bring important improvements and refinements.

Change in Barcode StandardsBarcodes are judged on seven parameters defined by globally-recognized ISO/IEC standards.  One of these parameters, Defects, is now calculated more precisely.   A defect is a light spot on a dark bar or a dark spot on a light space.  In the past, if a defect happened to be near the edge of a bar or space it would result in a worse score than the same defect further away from the edge.  While a defect’s location can have some effect on the barcode, the calculations of the new ISO/IEC 15416:2016 standard much more accurately reflect its real-world impact on the barcode’s scannability.

The other change in barcode standards is even more significant.  Four of the seven parameters – Symbol Contrast, Modulation, Defects, and Decodability, have been graded by whole numbers.  A grade could be 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4.  With the adoption of the ISO/IEC 15416:2016 standard they’ll be graded to one decimal place – from 0.0, 0.1, 0.2, and so on up to 4.0.  Under the previous edition of the standards, there were five possible parameter grades – there are now forty-one.  With this new degree of precision, compliant shipping labels are more important than ever before.

One of the most important functions of Bar Code Graphics is to help companies like you reduce the amount of money spent on offsets due to non-compliant labels.  The chart above compares the 2017 offset charges of suppliers who recertified a label with Bar Code Graphics in 2017 and those who didn’t.  If your certification is out of date the expense of recertification – $75 and a little time – is absolutely minuscule compared to spending many times that amount on offsets that could have been prevented.

Likewise, the time spent updating your verification software to the new ISO/IEC 15416:2016 standard is time well spent.  Companies who utilize ISO/ANSI barcode verification equipment should contact their equipment manufacturer and also obtain updated calibrated conformance test cards.

The first thing our Identification Labs personnel did when the new standard took effect was to update every piece of our verification equipment.  To us, equipment not using the latest standard is nothing less than a liability, no better than going back to using rulers.  We urge you, our partners, to take the same view.

Let Bar Code Graphics’ Identification Labs help you start the new year off right.  Contact us at 800.662.0701 or  We’re ready to get your label recertification started and offer any assistance you need to update your equipment to the new standard.

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