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Reading data embedded barcodes inline

13 May 2019

OAL Connected is offering a solution to read newly introduced data embedded barcodes inline. 

Data embedded barcodes have recently been unveiled by Tesco on meat products in its Jack’s stores, with an anticipated roll-out to further products and sites, in a bid to reduce food waste. 

OAL Connected’s label and date code verification solution is believed to be the only system currently on the market that can read the information contained within the barcode inline via existing scanners, protecting the packaging line from errors, emergency product withdrawals (EPWs) and product recalls. 

A data embedded barcode is an extended 1D barcode that can store more information, such as the global trade item number, expiration or best before date and batch number, in addition to other attributes used at the point-of-sale e.g. weight. These data embedded codes can be ‘stacked omnidirectional’ with just two barcodes stacked, or ‘expanded stacked’, with three or more on packaging. 
While ANSI grade verifying solutions can indicate the quality of the barcode and can read the information contained within, they cannot check that the details are correct before products leave the factory floor. 

Further, manufacturers will now need to print the barcodes in-house, with their own staff programming the printers, the room for error is significant. OAL Connected’s label and date code verification solutions are independent of the printer, which ensures a full and thorough check of the information within the barcode before it leaves the packaging line to reduce the risk of incorrect labels being released into the supply chain.

Commenting on the solution, Wayne Johnson, OAL Connected Director, said: “Jack’s meat products are already carrying the data embedded barcode in store, and from our discussions with manufacturers, the roll-out to further products and stores is likely to take place in the near future. It is vital for manufacturers to consider their current label & date code checks and whether they are able to cope with the potential challenge posed by Tesco’s forward-thinking update.”

In 2016 Mark Varney, food director at FareShare, claimed that the food manufacturing industry is responsible for 4m tonnes of the 15m tonnes of food wasted in the UK every year, a revelation which led to the Courtauld 2025 commitment, coordinated by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) (part of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) to cut waste in the food chain by 20% by 2025. The added information contained within data embedded barcodes offers greater oversight at every point in the supply chain, particularly at the point of sale, contributing to the industry goal of reducing waste. For suppliers, it helps to facilitate ordering and forecasting, better management of raw materials and offers greater insight on varieties and sources of origin, while retailers benefit from better waste management, targeted replenishment and rotation and targeted stock record counts thanks to the live view of products in stock.

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