Barcode quality and consistency can vary considerably depending on the amount that the package is handled, the printing technology, label geometry, point of origin, and a host of other factors.
When a barcode scanner cannot ‘read’ a barcode, that package has to be diverted to a manual station where an operator either directs the package to its destination, or manually keys in the information, replaces the defective barcode with a new barcode, and resends the package back through the sorting system.
Whatever the process, this failed condition decreases read rates (the percentage of codes that a scanner reads correctly), and increases labor and material costs. Because packages are handled more than once, unread barcodes also reduce the efficiency of package sorting equipment. Ultimately, rework means increased overhead and lost margins.
Cognex logistics barcode readers have proprietary barcode reading software with Hotbars™ image analysis technology which enables them to read codes that laser scanners and other readers cannot, including damaged or poorly presented 1-D linear barcodes.
The higher the volume of throughput, the greater the potential losses from low read rates. For example, a high-volume distribution center that processes 126,760 packages per day and averages 99% read rates has the option to invest $100,000 into new barcode reading systems. These new barcode readers will improve overall read rates by 0.9%. This improvement will reduce the number of packages that must be manually reworked and fed back through the sorting machine by 1,141 packages per day or 399,350 packages per year.
If we assume that a typical operator making $15 per hour requires 1.5 minutes to rework a no-read package, then this investment saves $149,756 per year, allowing the center to achieve full ROI for its $100,000 in just eight months.