Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What is in a Bar code?

What is in a bar code?
What is hiding in those thick and thin bars can seem a mystery. Often there is more than just your data such as a part number or serial number. Let’s look at the most typical and useful addition to the data in your bar code.

Data Identifiers
I have heard several integrators claim that data identifiers are no longer needed and they will argue that point simply because they are validating a field’s data against a database.
I understand that because they are validating a field they feel this way. But intelligent software (like Orbesoft®) can make use of identifiers to help the user, create performance minded transactions and increase the intelligence of the system.

First of all, just what is a data identifier? Data Identifiers usually prefix the data in a bar code and consist of one or more alpha-numeric characters that identify the type of data that is to follow. We can use this to instantly disqualify data that we are not looking for or requesting. For example I am requesting quantity and someone scanned a part number. Although the part number might look like a quantity, the data identifier says otherwise.

Another use which we employee quiet frequently is to automatically utilize the scanned data if it is being requested for a given transaction. (A scan out of order routine). For instance I am asking for part and a lot is scanned, I can store the lot and simply request the part number again. Instead of producing an error, my intelligent software allows me to scan out of order and complete my transaction.

There are other more advanced tricks in which we can combine data into a single scan and further save steps and keep a procedure the same in terms of consistency. Also worth mentioning is that all bar code symbols do not necessarily open up to prefixing.  UPC is one such symbology itself that indicates the type of information contained and does not allow data identifiers. So consult your integrator or industry standards for specifics.

So In summary, what is in a bar code? Your data prefixed with a data identifier if you’re doing things keeping with standards and using smart software.

Happy Scanning

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