2D Barcodes for Quality Control Managers

Make sure 2D barcodes scan right every time and prevent costly mistakes – here’s what you need to know to streamline the transition to 2D barcodes.

What Quality Control Managers need to know about 2D Barcodes

The 2D barcode can hold a large amount of data in a small amount of space, and can be scanned by consumers’ smartphones. However, unless they are printed to a high quality with the correctly encoded data, they won’t scan, which can end up costing your business in dollars and brand trust.

The goal of the QC manager is to ensure there are checks in place at each point of the process to ensure the accuracy of data and good print quality.

Advantages of 2D Barcodes for Quality Control Managers

  • Use 2D barcodes to identify packaging variants. 2D barcodes can be used to ensure you are using the correct packaging for specific locations and contents.
    For example, let’s say you sell apple juice made from different apple suppliers but they are sold under the same brand. Product A uses 100% Australian apples and product B uses less than 10% Australian apples, so they need different packaging labels. By using 2D code on the packaging, you give the packaging an ID. The code will not scan at POS, but the data helps identify the packaging during the packing process and ensure it is being used for the correct contents.
  • Built-in error protection. 2D barcodes are equipped with built-in error protection keeping data intact and readable even when the code is scratched, ripped, or marked through.
 

How to transition to 2D barcodes

Incorporate a 2D barcode quality plan as a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) within the business. This should include:

 

Data validation processes

If 2D barcodes are being applied with variable data, you need to implement practices to ensure the data is validated. This means checking the encoded data in the 2D barcodes is correct and up to date, including expiry date, batch/lot codes etc.

 

Barcode print quality checks

Check the print quality of the symbol on a regular basis and introduce barcode checks as part of your standard operating procedure.

When printing any barcode to a label, print a horizontal line around 3mm above the barcode symbol across the print width.

This allows operators to physically see faults with the printhead when the labels are being printed.

Perform continuous maintenance of the printing infrastructure to get good quality print every time. A scheduled printhead clean is recommended once every label change or on a scheduled basis.

Talk to Matthews Australasia about scheduled maintenance for your printing and labelling equipment.

2D Barcode Checklist

  • Ensure high quality 2D barcodes for scanning:
    • Ensure label stock is non-glossy. Matte stock is preferred for products kept in refrigerated environments
    • Introduce intermittent scans to ensure readability. Look for printers in the market with scanners built in, or invest in scanning technology.
    • Ensure labels are applied to a flat, even surface without crinkles or wrapping around the edge of the product.
    • Adhere to the recommended barcode symbol sizes.
  • Test your 2D barcodes.
    • To ensure your barcodes scan first time, every time, submit your label samples for a GS1 Barcode Check. This is mandatory if you are supplying items to Woolworths as you need to check the correct AI’s and data have been encoded in each 2D barcode. Speak to GS1 Australia for help with barcode verification.
  • Perform regular inspections
    • To monitor data validation and print quality.

FAQs

How do I get started?

Start discussions with solution providers early. They can recommend and help guide you towards the right coding, labelling or data capture solution for your needs, which will ensure a smooth transition for all involved.

What is the GS1 Barcode Verification program?

To ensure your barcodes scan first time, every time, you can submit your label samples for a GS1 Barcode Check.

GS1 Australia tests a range of factors including compliance to global standards, size, colour, print quality, numbering and more. Once tested, you will receive a Barcode Verification Report indicating the compliance of your barcode and any changes you may need to make.

This report is mandatory if you are supplying items to Woolworths to confirm the correct AI’s and data have been encoded in each 2D barcode. Speak to GS1 Australia for help with barcode verification.