As I read through this thread I can see that there is a fair bit of misunderstanding about verification.
What is it? It is a testing method to determine if a printed barcode can be decoded by your trading partners (customer or suppliers) scanners. It is not simple scanning. It actually is an analog process that measures the reflectivity of the barcode symbol (every pixel!) to create a map of the barcode. It uses the mapped data in ISO defined formulas to grade the label.
It is definitely more complex than simple scanning, but it is the only way you can be sure your barcodes can be decoded by others scanners. Pretty important for most applications. “I can read it!”
On top of that ‘print quality’ layer of standards, there are ‘application layers’ for your specific applications. These application layers usually define the content of the barcode data and how it is formatted. For instance, the application spec may say 13 numeric characters. Any deviation from that may be unacceptable in the application. This is at least as bad as a barcode that was printed poorly. In many applications, the content and formatting can be quite complex and opens the possibility for new sources of errors. UDI is that way. It is a multifield barcode with extensive and complex rules defining how the barcode is to be produced. It is also a variable data barcode where each new lot, serial # or expiry date changes the symbol. Add to that the ‘invisible’ field delimiters and it can be challenging for label printing software. Do it all correctly and you will have “I can read the barcode and I understand what it says!”
And finally, the third layer for UDI. Does it match the regulators database entries for the product? In the US, that is the FDA GUDID (Global UDI Database). Over the next year or 2, healthcare providers will be moving to get tighter control over their respective supply chains. That database includes a lot of information about the products and the barcode data must match the database to be correct. “I can read the barcode, I understand what it says and it is correct!”
Back now to the posts:
• Verification is mandatory. For those participating in most supply chains, it is specified and not something to be decided. In UDI, it is absolutely required from both a regulation standpoint and from a common-sense standpoint. This is your product.
• The importance of doing this correctly will only increase as more providers rely on the data in the barcodes for their patient’s health records and for payment from insurers.
• If you have a ‘touchy’ verification situation, then I would suspect that your barcode is too close to being out of spec. It is not hard to produce a great barcode, an ISO Grade 4 or ANSI Grade A. A good barcode is not touchy, it decodes in a snap. Start with a good design.
• Barcode printing software needs to be tested. There are lots of things that can go wrong and some are still working on fixing some of the newer things. This is true in both the print quality and in the application spec layers (if your software even checks this).