Barcode, QR Code and Data Matrix in Logistics
The barcode generates a combination of 95 numbers that will be interpreted by the equipment as a specific sequence.
Barcode is a graphical representation of a numerical or alphanumeric sequence that gives access to a specific set of information. A technology that began to be developed in 1948 by two American students, Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver. The patent came out four years later, in 1952. But it was only in 1974 that the first purchase with the barcode was made. The fact occurred in the city of Troy, Ohio, in the United States. In Brazil this technology arrived in 1984.
The barcode is based on the same principle as computing in general: the binary code. The white stripes represent zero and the black ones represent one. The optical laser reader emits a ray of light that, when hitting the printed label, reflects white light indicating what is zero. The absence of that same reflex indicates the one. This block generates a combination of 95 numbers that will be interpreted by the equipment as a specific sequence. This is the working mechanism of one-dimensional codes. Two-dimensional ones, such as the quick response code or Quick Response (QR Code), require image capture cameras and specific software for this purpose, otherwise it will not be possible to read the graphic code formed by white and black dots .
By the way, today there are several types of barcode. Read below what they are, according to the blog tracktracerx.com and the sites ibid.com.br, gs1br.org and powercoding.com.br. Let’s start with the one-dimensional ones, used mainly in sales operations and to keep the information of a warehouse or warehouse:
- UPC – The UPC ( Universal Product Code ) bar code is one of the most used in the world, especially in the United States . It is printed on product packaging, helping to identify information such as brand, size, color and value. That is why they are widely used in retail, such as supermarkets and clothing stores. Its pattern is easily identified by reading equipment based on the use of laser, the barcode readers that are located next to the cashiers in most stores – the ones that emit a red light. There are two main variations. The UPC-A is capable of encoding twelve numeric digits and the UPC-E operates on a six-digit basis;
- EAN – Along with the UPC, the EAN ( European Article Numbering ) barcode is also used to label assets and consumer goods for reading at points of sale. Its structure is slightly larger than the UPC, maintaining the characteristic of being easily read by laser barcode readers. Despite its European origin, this code is present all over the world, with the model being adopted in Brazil . It operates with 13 digits and also has its variations, which are EAN-13, EAN-8, JAN-13, ISBN and ISSN;
- CODE 128 – The GS1-128 code is the ideal standard for logistics, very efficient in identifying containers and items shipped or packaged, including the serial number, expiration date, item measurements and production batch number . It is widely used in the transport of health products and offers more complete tracking. Using code 128, it is possible to find where the goods are in the logistics chain and increase the visibility of the entire process;
- CODE IFT-14 – The IFT-14 has 14 digits and works well in logistics management. It is conducive to labeling different materials in the packaging industry and facilitates package tracking. These types of codes are printed directly on outer cardboard packaging, for example, and can identify the item’s origin, manufacturer, batch, and other data. They guarantee the efficient and safe traceability of the product, benefiting the identification and taking more data to the recipient of the orders;
- GS1 DATABAR – GS1 DataBar barcodes are present in retail and healthcare identifying coupons, general items and perishables. More efficient in consumer interaction environments, such as self-checkout and patient care, the DataBar has a large data storage capacity – being able to identify information such as batch and expiration date. They are also common in electronic components, cosmetics, tools, jewelry and costume jewelry. They are more flexible than other codes (EAN and UPC), which ensures good performance in operations that demand traceability and validity control. Some of its variations are the GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional, Truncated, Stacked, Stacked Omnidirectional, Expanded and Expanded Stacked;
- CODE 25 INTERLACED – Code 25 interleaved can be used for handling and transporting items such as index cards, inventories, airline tickets and envelopes. In the logistics process, it is used especially for dispatched equipment, luggage and cargo. Another possibility is to use it in time clocks, payment slips, among other possibilities that are not linked to a point of sale or logistics.
Two-dimensional codes are capable of storing more data per unit area. They have only recently been employed. They were developed with technology that protects them against errors, gaining market confidence. There are basically two types:
- QR CODE – The Quick Response Code,or quick response code, is not read by laser equipment but by capture cameras, which carry out the decoding of the image formed by black and white spots, thanks to specific software for this purpose. It logs text-based data. It is very common in retail and the entertainment industry. It has high fault tolerance and can be read with surprising agility. It supports different data modes: numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary and Kanji. Quick response codes are free to use. The focus of this standard is on the Extended Packaging of the product, that is, through an informed URL, it shows information that is not visible on the merchandise, providing consumers with access to additional information or services related to the products, allowing redirection to the website content of the item or company. Since its introduction, the QR Code has gained wide acceptance in various sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, retail, transportation and, more recently, mobile phone applications. Extended Packaging, for example, is an approach that provides consumers with access to information that is not visible on the product, redirecting the customer to a specific virtual environment. Mobile technology and existing applications read information based on “texts” and URL, that is, if a QR Code is created and used, where there is GTIN information, it will read all of it, however in “text” format. Its applications in Logistics are several, and can help companies in banking transactions, stock control, product labeling, information transmission, marketing and sales,
- DATAMATRIX– The Datamatrix code was created in Japan in 1994 by Denso-Wave (which also developed the QR CODE), a company of the Toyota Group, for use in the automobile industry, as a quick way to catalog the components of automobiles. It is a two-dimensional code that stores a large amount of data. They can store over 7,000 numeric characters, 2,900 binary characters, 4,000 alphanumeric characters and over 1,800 Japanese characters. As it is a non-linear code (that is, it has a similar pattern to the QR CODE), its use is not common in points of sale (supermarkets, pharmacies, etc.), as its decoding is processed by digital cameras. with the help of reading software. Can be engraved on the product to be tamper proof. It is most used in the health area for increasing the reliability and traceability of information. Another application that has been growing is that of variable data at the POS and also in the identification of logistic units. As it can contain serial numbers, batches, and expiration dates, this information ends up being encoded in medications. Furthermore, due to its compact size, a Datamatrix symbol can fit almost any healthcare product, not forgetting logistical and retail applications. In the past, for example, individual surgical instruments could not be automatically labeled. Nowadays, a Datamatrix can be marked directly on these instruments, thus simplifying its tracking in hospitals. In addition to healthcare facilities, this barcode can be used at:
- Insurers: Technical reports, expertise, document control, insurance registration, etc.
- Banks: Anti-fraud security for payments, identification of checks, bank slips, etc.
- Commerce: Merchandise control, stock control, product identification, etc.
- and Industries: Logistics follow-up, issue of invoices, process follow-up, parts identification, product tracking, etc.
But which system to adopt? It depends on your business. Some factors need to be taken into account. What volume of information should you store and transmit, what space is available for printing codes and what equipment will be used for reading operations.
Yes. In addition to the bar code system, the entrepreneur must also acquire the equipment that decodes the labels. Readers can be fixed or handheld and identification can occur by infrared, laser or image. There is therefore an installation cost. But the barcode offers several advantages. See some of them according to the site gs1br.org:
- “ Agility – The bar code enables merchants to serve customers more quickly and, at the same time, control inventory and register products more quickly.
- Accuracy – Each barcode works like a fingerprint. It has a specific sequence, capable of accurately identifying a product. Therefore, no two barcodes are alike, which increases the accuracy and security of logistical processes.
- Ease – Training or qualifications are not necessary for the implementation of the barcode in a company. Just buy the code and the reader. Usage is quite simple.
- Security – One of the most common failures in the day-to-day of companies that still use manual processes is wrong typing by operators. As it is a computerized process, the barcode reduces the occurrence of this type of errors.
- Standardization – Every product must be standardized, but this is not always the reality of companies. However, the implementation of the barcode makes it possible to improve this factor, as it is an element that is always the same.
- Efficiency – Implementing the tool is able to help different departments, especially inventory, thanks to the accuracy of the data provided, reducing rework and increasing operational efficiency.
- Less Costs – This is because there is less rework as the data is updated automatically and without the need for manual intervention.
- Satisfaction of customers and suppliers – Even the relationships between companies and their customers and suppliers can be improved with the implementation of the bar code.
For suppliers, it is good business to work with companies that use bar codes, since negotiation can be facilitated and orders placed are more accurate. For customers, the main advantage is the speed of purchase.”
Finally, how do you implement the barcode? Self-employed people need an identity card or CNH, CPF, proof of address and income tax return. Companies must gather the following documentation:
- copy of the last consolidated Contractual Amendment, with a management clause, determining people authorized to sign for it or Businessperson Application;
- copy of registration Y540 (last fiscal year) ECF, Balance Sheet with DRE or Simple National Statement;
- copy of CNPJ card;
- in the case of a joint-stock company, associations or cooperatives, the Statute and Minutes of the last Assembly must also be sent, electing the current board of directors and determining people authorized to sign for it;
- for Individual Entrepreneur cases, the Individual Microentrepreneur Condition Certificate, the Simples Nacional (SIMEI) extract, a copy of the holder’s RG and CPF or CNH and proof of address must be included.
According to the Associação Brasileira de Automação website, “ after all the information sent is analyzed, GS1 sends the association contract to be signed and the payment slip for the association fee (which varies according to the company’s billing , or the self-employed professional). As soon as the payment of the fee is made, access is granted through a login and password, in which the entrepreneur can start registering his products via the internet — remembering to choose the most appropriate type according to the model of business ”.
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