We need to read fast barcodes. Yet we have a prevalent problem with lousy barcodes. We did a study on one site recently and found that about 3.5% of all barcodes were defective. Of that with some manipulation and angling of the reader, only half could be read. The rest were totally useless. It was maddening that most of the unreadable ones were the result of suppliers making poorly made barcodes. This results in many no-reads. I told a retailer to consider that maybe they should argue that an item is defective as the barcode was that bad and return it.

Anyway, retailers often have to create their barcodes to solve this problem. If so, here are some tips to help you.

1) Use a suitable roll or sheets for labels. I have seen where the glue is so runny that they were useless.

2) Choose a light colour for the barcode roll. I like white. This increases the contrast between the barcode and the label, making it easier to read.

3) Do not put labels on the product next to anything that may reflect light.

4) Clean the printer and code reader and the barcode label. Dirt and grease make it harder to read.

5) Put the barcode labels on the product as flat as possible you do not want the barcode to fold or, worse, crumble or break.

6) Keep your barcode away from other barcodes in the product. This may cause the scanner to misread.

7) Do not let the sun hit the barcode for a long time.

8) Try to keep the barcode label dry.

9) Put the barcode in a position on your item that has blank space around it.

10) Ensure that nothing obscures the bar code

If you have followed the above steps and still have problems, send a picture of the barcode to our support team to be assessed for possible problems.

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