“Walmart roils the case-coding waters ” – Packaging World Article
Walmart’s Beef is Legit
Another observer from the ink-jet supplier side is Rob Schneider, owner of Case Printing Solutions. “These restrictive requirements from Walmart are creating a firestorm in the case-coding businesses,” says Schneider. But like Fox, he agrees wholeheartedly that Walmart has a legitimate beef.
“CPG companies using ink-jet have neglected to provide consistent, readable bar codes to their retail partners,” says Schneider. “I have seen bad barcodes and poor practices time and again. Lack of training, bad setup, and poor maintenance of ink-jet systems are among the problems. In the light of such quality issues, Walmart has decided to throw the baby out with the bath water. But they didn’t have to, because the problems they are encountering can be easily fixed.”
Schneider maintains that ink-jet can and should meet quality standards, insisting that there’s no need to throw out an entire technology, one with millions already invested, that is greatly preferred by CPG manufacturers of all stripes. But those manufacturers, says Schneider, need to pay better attention and need to initiate in-house training in things like printer setup, case alignment, proper selection of industrial inks, and better maintenance protocols.
“I have seen production lines where the alignment was so far off that the barcodes faded into oblivion,” says Schneider. “Many production workers have no idea about what to look for in barcode readability. Poor inks also affect barcode quality when they don’t provide contrast and edge quality, or when they clog nozzles.”
Schneider also believes that CPG companies must commit themselves to end-of-line barcode readability verification testing. “The production team needs to validate and report that their codes are done properly,” he says.
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