If barcode verification is like spelling, and barcode validation is like penmanship, barcode match—which is the third leg of the barcode quality tripod—is like vocabulary: selecting the right words, or in this case, the right item by its barcode. Barcode match is making sure you are putting the correct items in the package. The package could be a pick list, a kit of component parts, a master carton of SKU’s or a pallet.
Barcode match is important because, at very least, an incorrect shipment is a waste of valuable resources: time, shipping cost, depleting inventory with wrong items somewhere in transit and unavailable, and customer dissatisfaction.
Beyond these relatively minor problems, barcode match is very important because correct shipments support supply chain security. Wrong shipments signal a possible intercepted shipment: has something been stolen? Are the remaining items counterfeit or adulterated?
The most basic form of barcode match is human. The order picker or packaging person is required to visually make sure the items on the pick list are the items going into the carton or onto the pallet. It is a mind-numbing and error prone requirement to which humans are not well-suited. A much better solution is to use a barcode match device such as portable data terminal (PDT), but they are expensive and tend to get lost or damaged.
A far better alternative is a newly developed smart phone app called Barcode Match™, available at the Google Play Store. The $99.99 Barcode Match program comes with four code match modes:
One to One mode lets the user program the smart phone with one master and test one barcode for a match, after which the system automatically resets for the next 1: 1 operation.
One to Many mode lets the user program the smart phone with one master and test as many barcodes as necessary before manually resetting the system for the next operation.
Many to Some mode, which lets the user program the system with up to 10 master barcodes and test any barcode for a match to the saved master set.
Box mode, which lets the user define a specific set of up to 50 items that go into a saved box. The user can define and save an unlimited number of different boxes*, each with a unique set of items. Box Mode also tracks the number of each item, and provides the ability to generate a report.
Damage or loss of company equipment can be avoided when packaging personnel use the Barcode Match app on their own smart phones (BYOD). Alternatively, smart phones without a SIM card are inexpensive and readily available at most electronics retailers for about $120. Barcode Match™ on a new basic smart phone is still significantly less expensive and more powerful and feature-rich than the least expensive PDT.
The Barcode Match™ app for Android is available here.
*limited only by available smart phone memory