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Barcode won't scan for customer

Barcode won't scan for customer

Barcode won't scan for customer


We print barcodes using a Zebra label printer and the BarTender software. Those same product barcodes are often preprinted on our packaging by our packaging manufacturer. Either printed barcode works in our retail cash registers, but the label printed ones will not work in a couple of our wholesale customers' registers. These are both major retailers with modern registers and scanners. Both of them can scan the codes preprinted on our packaging, but not the labels we print. Can anyone tell me why this is occuring?

(I don't know squat about barcodes so use small words :)


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RE: Barcode won't scan for customer

Won't scan, Or they are not in the Cash register database.
Remember the UPC code is just a part number and has to be added to the database to pull up the price and description.
If this UPS is different than the original one it may not have been added.

DougP, MCP, A+

RE: Barcode won't scan for customer

Ummm... the barcode numbers are the same, so I would have to assume that it is in the register database. I don't know if the little lines are the same, are there different kinds of coding?

RE: Barcode won't scan for customer

First of all this is not a Yes, No answer it can have many variables. A lot of people just think you throw a barcode on something it that’s it. Only when it does not work do they start to understand the complexities of the industry. As with any problem you start troubleshooting at the source. Is the barcode good or bad as it is being created? All barcodes follow a set of published standards which must be adhered to for the barcode to scan or not. The scanner is programmed with these standards so that if you scan any barcode the scanner knows what it is and will beep when it’s right. One issue about scanners is they don’t tell you what is wrong. It either scans or it doesn’t.

1st the barcode is bad, has a defect or something. Broken, torn, cut.
2nd Is something blocking the laser from reading the lines correctly (frost on frozen products). Clear wrapping that is wrinkled on top of the barcode. Barcode is placed on a product that has an odd shape; therefore the barcode is not flat. Good example of this is a Soda can; the barcode runs vertical to the can not around it. If it ran around the circumference it would not scan because the laser is not fully reflected back into the scanner.  You also need Color contrast, black on white is best. A tan barcode on a white background is not going to scan very well if at all.
This brings up another point.  “A barcode is actually the spaces between the lines.” The laser light reflects off the white (spaces) back into the receiver. The black blocks or masks the light so it does not reflect off the black lines. Therefore you need crisp uniform white spaces that are not obscured by anything.
3rd the software that the scanner /computer is running is told not to beep when nothing is found. I suspect this is your case.  
4th the scanner is programmed to reject certain criteria.
If the barcodes are created at the same place and some scan and some don’t. You would be lead to believe the barcode is OK and the problem is then at each site. In most cases you can be assured the barcode is correct, if it is made by a standard barcode package or if it is part of the package labeling.
Unless you have complete control over the creation of barcode lines you (usually) cannot make a bad barcode using the off the shelf packages.

Lastly all barcode should be checked at place of creation to make sure they work. Then you have a known reference to compare.  So any barcode should never be placed on a package unless it is known to scan (not be defective).
This is not uncommon in the industry to check barcode as they are being printed/placed a lot of printers come with a barcode verifier to make sure, 1st a barcode got on a product and 2nd it is not defective.

DougP, MCP, A+

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