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January 06, 2020 08:01 AM

10 Steps to Barcode Your Product

Whether it is the first time you’ve thought about applying a barcode to a product or asset or you are looking for a way to improve the way your firm uses a barcode label system, it is helpful to think of the following ten steps involved in effectively barcoding any sort of product (including inventory and assets you manage, as well as products or even patients/people).

1) What are you doing with the custom barcode or barcode label?

This is relevant on several levels. First, it lets you determine the materials from which the label has to be produced. Second, it enables you to choose the proper type or symbology for the barcode or custom barcode. After all, the barcode has to include specific data and that means you need to know whether it is a UPC, Code 39, or another variety of barcode label.

2) What size and other elements are necessary?

Will the custom barcode be used with a point of sale scanner, a long-distance warehouse scanner, or for tracking an asset? This information helps you design a barcode or barcode label best suited to the “scanning environment” in which it is going to be used. That includes the size of the label and the quality of the printed barcode.

3) Determine if a GS1 DataBar is required

Even with a custom barcode, you may need to comply with POS systems throughout the world and use a unique GS1 company prefix.

4) What is the data to be encoded?

A barcode works by converting its bars and lines into data when scanned. The bars and lines can represent numbers, numbers and text, and numbers with text and special characters. The barcode label can also have stop/start features that embed even more information in the lines and spaces. The use of a 2D custom barcode brings even more data capabilities and should be considered if the information is comprehensive or complex.

5) Remember to choose HRI text properly

Did you realize that your barcode can feature text that is HRI or human readable interpretation text that backs up the crucial information contained in the code? For instance, a barcode label damaged during shipping can be manually entered into the system using the HRI text and convey the data.

6) Format HRI properly

If your custom barcode does need HRI, be sure that it is formatted accordingly and appears in the proper bracketing or style to convey the full data if manually entered into a tracking system.

7) Think about barcode colors

Most of us think of a barcode label purely in terms of black and white, but it can be in other colors when custom designed. The point is to use dark colors for the bars and always stick with the same color throughout. There should always be a sharply contrasting color behind the bar code, such as a bold yellow or deep red.

8) Determine code placement

Where is the barcode going to be placed on a package or container? Asking a printing provider about the different printing processes, materials and options may enable you to save time and money by choosing a printing method that allows direct printing on packaging, or for a style or size of label that will stand out far more effectively.

9) Test the quality of the custom barcode or plain barcode

A good producer will help their clients by running a test of the barcode before shipping it out. A special “verifier” tests the symbology, printing, and overall design to ensure an accurate read when that barcode is scanned.

10) Consider partnering with experts when designing any sort of barcode label

It may be the first time you make a barcode for your company’s products or inventory, or it might be the hundredth time. Either way, it makes sense to consider working with professionals who are well-versed in the many steps required in making and using barcodes most effectively. They will have the materials, printing processes, and knowledge essential to the very best results.

Express is a producer of premium identification products including every type of barcode label possible. Whether it is a basic UPC or a more complex 2D code needed, their team can work with you to ensure full compliance with your industry’s standards, as well as offering an array of additional items that include tags and other labels. Don’t struggle to use and design barcodes on your own when there are resources available for optimal identification, tracking, and barcoding systems.