Barcode technology is great. But when you combine Good Barcode with the use of standards in a business setting, the results are phenomenal, game changing, empowering, etc. All of the benefits and features are magnified and shared between trading partners across the industry.
In barcoding there are 2 types of standards:
- Those that specify and define barcode types (symbologies). These are the ISO Symbology Soecifications. There is one ISO Spec for each of the barcode types in use. You can get a copy of the spec for the ones that you are using by contacting ISO and buying a copy of the copyrighted spec. Each of the specs is written by the symbologies creator and describes in detail what the code contains, how it encoded, any technical restrictions and how to verify the quality of a printed sample.
- http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=46143 for UPC
- http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=43896 for Code 128
- http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=44230 for Datamatrix
- http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=62021 for QR Code
- Those that specify and define industry and application requirements. These are industry specific and are published by the major industry associations that have historically provided the organization, documentation and training for collaborative industry wide efforts improve. In some cases, these application specifications further define which barcode types should be used, the required size and quality, the barcode content as well as human readable content. The most extensive of these is GS1 (used to be UCC) which covers retail food, hard goods, food service, healthcare distribution. GS1 goes beyond the labeling and product identification aspects into EDI, RFID, training, etc. A full list of the associations and their offerings is not available here but we do suggest contacting your industry association and getting a current catalog of what is available to you. Some examples include:
- http://www.gs1.org/docs/barcodes/GS1_General_Specifications.pdf This is the foundational document for all businesses product identification and business process data elements. A free download that is updated annually, this is the grand daddy of all barcode related standards.
- http://www.aiag.org/store/publications/details?ProductCode=B-4 – Automotive industry parts marking for supply chain
- http://www.aiag.org/store/publications/details?ProductCode=B-10 – Automotive industry shipping label for supply chain
- http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/UID/attachments/DoDUIDGuideVer2_5.pdf – Department of Defense Guide for unique identification
- http://www.ecianow.org/wp-content/uploads/2D-Barcode-Basics-9-8-2016.pdf -Electronic components industry