Everybody seems to agree that barcode verifiers are expensive—that’s why some “clever” people foolishly use scanners instead, and some others don’t verify at all. Eventually they will learn, but for those open to the idea of preventing a disaster, here are ten powerful reasons that using a high quality barcode verifier is a net savings.
1. Some barcode verifiers can test reflectance and color contrast even before printing the barcode. Static reflectance readings from any color samples can predict if a customer’s required colors will work, not work or will be marginal.
- 2. Barcode verifiers can test barcode data structure for compliance with GS1 and other industrial formats. Image quality is only one aspect of barcode quality. Scanners test neither image quality nor data structure—they just decode.
- 3. Most people already know that a verifier tests and grades barcode image quality. Of course it is important that the verifier itself be ISO-compliant and test all attributes of the ISO specification of the printed barcode. This is a powerful financial point because some verifiers are not ISO compliant or test for all ISO attributes—but they don’t cost less than those that are compliant.
- 4. Using a verifier as part of the printing process provides the tools to predict a barcode problem and adjust it out before it becomes a problem. Prevention is always less expensive than remediation.
- 5. What does even a minor barcode disaster cost? Suppose you have to re-run a relatively small job or replace a batch of packaging because of a barcode problem. What would the replacement time and materials cost? Add to that the cost of the wasted time and material to produce the rejected job, and don’t forget to add the lost opportunity to use that time and material running a new, billable job. The average cost of a linear verifier is around $3500. How soon would a verifier pay for itself by averting even a minor barcode problem?
- 6. There are other tangible costs of bad barcodes. Most package and label printers carry insurance to protect them against the cost of mistakes. Here a mistake has a double impact: if you pay for the coverage but then don’t prevent the problem by using a barcode verifier, the premium was a net loss—and the premiums will increase when a claim is filed.
- 7. Consider the intangible losses of a barcode disaster. The cost of replacing rejected material might actually pale in comparison to the customer’s damaged confidence. What if they decide to bid out the next order? What if they start to send some of their business elsewhere? What if they leave altogether?
- 8. What about your reputation? What if word gets out about a quality problem at your shop? How do you counter that when customers aren’t asking for quotes?
- 9. In a more positive light, a company with a robust barcode quality program has a marketing advantage. A great track record of quality and no problems is a solid platform for growth, better margins and future success.
- 10. What is it worth to have confidence in your people and processes? Can you put a financial cost on peace of mind?
About John Nachtrieb
Mr. Nachtrieb has 30+ years of hands-on experience in barcode technology. His team imaged the film master for the first commercially scanned barcode in North America (1974). His specialty is barcode quality. He created and hosts a highly customized barcode quality seminar which has been presented to 100's of companies, reaching thousands of quality-concerned people, helping them to avoid barcode problems and manage barcode-related risk.
Written by John Nachtrieb
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