How to troubleshoot barcode labeling issues

Thermal printers, barcode labeling, hand-held scanners, RFID readers, and rugged computers have changed material handling for the better with drastically increased efficiency. In some cases this technology has become so crucial that when problems arise it can grind operations to a halt or cause serious inventory variances. Luckily, there are a few easy steps that can help diagnose and resolve the issue quickly.

Scan It Again

Just like all technology, scanners can have momentary glitches that cause false readings. Often times retying the barcode will result in a successful scan.

Clean the Barcode and Scanner Lens

Despite constant efforts to clean the building, warehouses are usually dirty. If enough dust or debris builds up on a barcode it can cause it to become unreadable. By cleaning the label and wiping or scraping away anything that might obscure it, you increase the chances of it being scanned. The same principal applies to the scanner, by checking the lens you can cause it to function at its fullest capacity.

Print Another Barcode

There may be a scratch or tear on the label. In that case, print a fresh barcode and see if it works. If not, then the issue may lie with the printer. 

Examine the Printer

Most barcode label printers are thermal printers and are sensitive to bits of dirt or grime getting between the printhead and the label. Carefully open the printer and use cleaning alcohol on a Q-tip to wipe down the thermal printhead. If the printer continues to miss portions of the barcode it most likely needs a new thermal printhead. 

Update the Label Generating Software

If the printer is fine and not in need of a new printhead, the label software probably needs to be updated. Look for a software update to download or contact IT to properly install any important patches the printer may be missing to function properly.

Update the Scanner

Every so often scan guns will receive software updates as well. Contact IT to see if a new patch is attempting to download onto the gun, this can cause it to malfunction.

Despite the large number of variables at play, troubleshooting barcode label issues is typically fast and easy. If none of these solutions work, it may be time to contact us.

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