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Reading between the lines – Barcodes In Packaging Artworks

July 15, 2016

They’re more than just some bits of parallel lines stacked together to identify a product. It wouldn’t be a far-stretch for the humble barcode to claim that it plays a crucial role in the effective and efficient operation of economies, from small businesses to large multinational conglomerates.

Hidden in plain sight, a barcode is one of the most overlooked tools of efficiency

Hidden in plain sight, the barcode is one of the most overlooked tools of efficiency

Barcodes allow for faster automatic checkout process of products to be scanned at POS (point-of-sale) in retail stores around the world. Product data is associated with each unique barcode number. Barcodes are extensively used in labeling of FMCG, CPG, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetics and Medical Device products among others.

There are multiple types of Barcode which are created on top of labels. But the major 2 versions are Linear Barcodes and 2D Matrix Barcode.

Based on geographical locations, following are the two types of Barcodes which are widely popular:

  • US & Canada : UPC-A
  • Rest of the world: EAN-13

Following are the different formats of Barcode in use for Retail industry:

  • EAN 13 GS1 DataBar Limited
  • EAN 8 GS1 DataBar Expanded
  • UPC-A GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked
  • UPC-E GS1 128
  • GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional GS1 U.S. Coupon Interim
  • GS1 DataBar Truncated M+S 7
  • GS1 DataBar Stacked Marks & Spencer
  • GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional Sick
  • GS1 Datamatrix (2D)

GS1 : GS1 is a non-profit international organization which primarily develops and maintains the Standards of Barcodes across multiple sectors. Companies need to first register themselves with GS1 and get a company ID (5 digit number) from GS1 which will uniquely identify their barcodes. GS1 has over a million member companies across the globe.

Following are most widely used formats in Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Industries:

  • NDC / HRI
  • Laetus Pharma Code
  • CLF-8
  • HIBC 39
  • HIBC 128
  • Paraf Italy
  • PZN
  • PZN8

What happens when you don’t get your Barcodes Right-First-Time?

When barcodes ambitiously aim for 99% accuracy, they still leaves space for that 1% which could dramatically mess up your supply chain. In fact, GS1 frequently points out, “Barcodes should scan right the  first time, every time!”. So what is the cost of a failed barcode?

  1. Reduction in Efficiency : Let’s assume your company scans 1 billion items. An error of 1% would mean 1 million scanning failures which would be a phenomenal cost if your enterprise was, say, a supermarket chain. These failures would require manual tracking and increased time to load and transport thus decreasing efficiency.
  2. Cost of locating the error: While typical error rate for human data entry is one error per 300 characters, an error rate for barcode scanners can be as good as one error in 36 trillion characters – making it far more difficult to trace and rectify.
  3. Cost of return: Unscannable items need to be returned to suppliers which incur extra costs
  4. Inaccurate invoices: Incorrect barcoding leads to generating false invoices leading to disputes and delays over payment
  5. Customer dissatisfaction: If your error rate is high, your supply chain partners might want to pull the plug from the relationship. There’s also a case for consumer dissatisfaction when the person is waiting for an eternity at the checkout line while you’re trying to make sense of the unscannable barcode.

Barcodes therefore can be fraught with errors leading to recalls which makes Barcode Recognition very important.

Here’s how ManageArtworks breaks down your Barcode to its type, decodes its value and is proofed according to several parameters.


















Add this to list of the number of reasons for investing in an Artwork Management Platform.

If you wish to identify and proof barcodes on your artworks faster, get to the markets faster and earn revenues faster, then contact our experts pronto and sell more, faster!

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  1. nice article.thank you for sharing.

  2. nice article.thank you for sharing.

  3. This blog is really insightful. Your way of writing is attractive. Keep writing. We are expecting more blogs like this.

  4. Thanks for sharing such a very useful information, please write more articles….

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