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You can read your own barcodes. That’s great – your work would come to a screeching halt otherwise. But have you thought about the people who handle your products further down the chain of distribution? They’re probably not using the same scanners you’re using, and it could be risky to assume that they can read your codes. If they can’t, it will cost you.

It’s important to understand the difference between simply validating barcodes and actually verifying them against ISO standards. When you scan a code and say, “Great, this one’s readable,” you’re just validating that your scanner can read it. That doesn’t mean much to the end user whose scanners can only read barcodes with a grade of 2.0 or higher. If you don’t verify that your barcodes are at least a grade 2.0 according to the ISO system, then your end user could be left with a bunch of products unable to be processed. Fortunately for them, they can just send the product back to you and charge you a hefty fine for wasted time and effort.

The reason you need to pay attention to barcode grade is that not all scanners are created equal. Some are much better than others at reading low-contrast codes such as those printed in black ink on brown corrugated boxes. Some use highly advanced algorithms that can accurately decode smudged or dirty barcodes. All scanners, no matter how fancy or basic, are evaluated according to what grade of barcode they can be expected to read successfully. If you don’t know what ISO grade your barcodes are, then you won’t know whether your end user’s scanners can read them.

This is why you should be using verification software like Omron Microscan’s Verification Monitoring Interface (VMI) to grade your barcodes. VMI is a plug-in module for the AutoVISION software that makes it easy to perform inline barcode verification according to your own specific needs. You can tell it what to watch out for, and it will trigger an output signal if any codes fall into the problematic category. You can configure the system to make the output signal stop the production line, sound an alarm or perform another preventive measure. The Edit view in VMI allows you to effortlessly perform trend analysis and control the pass/fail state of barcode inspection, while the Run view gives you intuitive visual feedback of the verification results.

Omron Microscan’s VMI is specifically designed with secondary packaging in mind. Printing barcodes on cardboard or corrugated packages can be touchy because ink jet printers often get clogged with cardboard dust or their own ink. Automating the process with an inline verifier like VMI spares operators the significant time and effort required to constantly inspect print quality. It also eliminates human error and provides a digital record of barcode grading in case an end user wants to send a truckload of goods back to you. If you want to catch mistakes before they go out the door and have confidence that your codes are readable throughout the distribution chain, it’s time to implement an inline verification system.

Follow this link to watch our VMI software overview video and learn how to use the VMI tool to verify barcodes.

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