QSC Consultants Pvt Ltd
Bar Coading

If your company is pursuing ISO certification and you have barcodes on your product or in your process, verification is no longer enough. You also have to make certain your barcode verifiers are ISO certified. This isn’t always an easy thing to do, but neither is it impossible. Like anything else, you have to plan for it and then make sure it happens.

First, make sure you understand what verifier certification actually means. Just about every week or so we get an inquiry from a verifier user wanting us to send a duplicate of the Certification of Conformance they received (and lost) with their verifier calibration page. This Certificate of Conformance does not address the performance of the verifier; it certifies that the calibration page contains the reflectance values stated on it. It is possible to obtain a Certificate of Conformance for the verifier at time of purchase, but most verifier manufacturers do not routinely include it unless it is specifically requested.

Furthermore, ISO certification programs require equipment to be currently tested and certified, but they leave it up to the individual companies to determine what “currently” means. Is it one year? Two years? It could be one year or even one month for some equipment, and two years for another piece of equipment. In our opinion, because barcodes are so critical to supply chain functionality, recertifying verifiers annually seems sensible.

Certifying verifier conformance is usually involves factory depot service, meaning, you have to send the verifier back to the factory. Well, actually you first have to call customer service, request and obtain a Return Merchandise Authorization Number or RMA, and then ship the verifier back to the factory. Then your verifier sits in queue for a while until a technician gets to it, and then someone contacts you and requests a purchase order to complete the testing, recalibration and certification. Three or four weeks later, on average, your verifier is shipped back to you. If the verifier is critical in your operation, it can be a frustrating, even exasperating process. You’ve got ISO Certification pressing in on you on one side, and the specter of barcode liability looming on the other side.

Well, you actually do have a choice, or will soon. Fotel is in training to provide field calibration and certification for Quick Check verifiers. Thanks to our close partnership with Handheld Products, we will be the only source for this service outside the factory. Our training is expected to complete soon and we will offer verifier calibration in our Lombard, Illinois barcode lab. Many of the details have not yet been resolved—how much will the service cost, how long does the actual calibration and certification process require, etc?