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Thread: Barcodes: Pros & Cons

  1. #1 Barcodes: Pros & Cons 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    My colleagues and I got into a bit of an argument the other day over barcoding. As usual I tried to play the devil's advocate. I'd like to touch on one aspect in particular but I would appreciate any info, good or bad, that you can offer. <br><br>One argument was regarding human error. Now I have read where the error rates for keystroke entry is 1:300 whereas the lowest rate I could find for barcodes is in the 1:84000. Now unless I'm one in a million I have trouble believing the latter only because personally I have been stuck at a checkout counter several times over barcode discrepancies. Usually the price or description does not match what's on the shelf or there are times when I go over the grocery list and find things on there that I never purchased. So I'm wondering if a lot of these errors never get reported or just how do they come up with barcodes error statistics? <br><br>Other things we touched on were safety and reliance. Are barcodes safe to use? The consensus was yes but not totally because there is usually somebody adversely affected somewhere. Does dependency on barcodes create complacency? Do we eventually become anaesthetized to any potential problems such as mislabelling, which in some cases could prove fatal?<br><br>As far as business is concerned I can see how the benefit outweighs any risks associated with barcode usage. I am under the impression that despite a commitment to barcoding, a company should not lose sight of having people under their employ who know the product(s) if only to recognize when a bottle of poison has erroneously be labelled as aspirin? 


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  3. #2  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Could someone please remove the two extra posts on this topic. For some reason there is such a delay when you try to submit that I start thinking the thread never made it and this time I accidentally sent it 3 times.....thanks

    Please use my first post as it has the paragraphs. No idea what happened


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    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    This is really interesting to me, which is saying something, but, I'm not sure what the exact words are. My understanding of barcode physics is limited, so, I can only provide a post-bump to your thread.
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  5. #4  
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    Well no system if completely fool proof, and safety items, such as medicines probably should have redundant systems. Barcodes are such old technology--we should probably turn our focus to electronic tagging.
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  6. #5  
    Cool Dude ostkef's Avatar
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    some day calculators will engage in a rebellion and give us wrong answers.

    it will start slowly, until we are writing completely incorrect answers.
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  7. #6  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Well no system if completely fool proof, and safety items, such as medicines probably should have redundant systems. Barcodes are such old technology--we should probably turn our focus to electronic tagging.
    Let's say I supply aircraft parts and all my parts are coded in some way. After a while my company becomes dependent on codes to the point where it becomes complacent. Somehow a part gets mislabelled, gets used in error and a plane goes down. My point is that despite all the modern technologies I would be up Shit's Creek without a paddle because I didn't have a knowledgeable parts man. IOW's I would still need someone with a lot of knowledge of airplane parts. You can't eliminate human error and you must be prepared for it.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    It is quite common for barcodes not to be in the store system or for the same product to arrive under two UPC's (Universal Product Code) each assigned to different regions of the country.

    It is a far less common problem, at least in retail grocery, for a UPC to be completely wrongly assigned/identified. I think the funniest one that occurred prior to computer assisted ordering at our location had to do with a grocery UPC that somehow got switched with a meat department UPC. The grocery supervisor was getting frustrated that the new sauce he ordered was not coming in, even though he ordered two cases twice a week and meanwhile the meat department was getting two cases of lamb twice a week and none was being ordered.

    'Distros' or unsolicited stock shipped by regional warehouses for various promotions are quite common so it took a few weeks for the two managers to realize that their problems were directly related.

    Another incident that I recall was when a line of hot chocolate changed formulation and when it came back on line, they had switched the descriptions between the variety with marshmallows and the one without. For some strange reason, that one was harder to get corrected than the sauce/lamb mix-up.
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  9. #8  
    Cool Dude ostkef's Avatar
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    speaking of poison, some powerful drugs have "warning: poison" stickers on their boxes.
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