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Cannabis and Barcodes, a Match Made In Heaven?

This article was originally written for Viridian Sciences, developers of cannabis seed-to-sale and EPS software. the original article can be found here: Cannabis and Barcodes, a Match Made In Heaven?


This age of technology can be simultaneously inspiring and overwhelming. Today we consume data from a wide variety of digital channels and devices — often all at the very same time. The fast-growing number of interconnecting "smart" devices might give you the impression that barcode scanners are plug-and-play. While this for retail UPC barcode scanners, but it is not the case for the majority of workflow scenarios.


In industry, barcode scanners need to manage far more data more than just price and inventory levels. To further complicate matters, they also need to deal with a variety of different types of barcodes and barcode-like technologies and symbologies such as QR codes and RFID tags. These challenges have a way of weeding out less capable barcode scanners. If you’re doing your homework you’ll quickly see the value in having a more capable scanning system.


Does this happen to you? You’ve got a handful of different codes that need to be scanned. In order to get a good scan, you have to cover all but one code at a time while you try to get the right read — over and over again. What if you could scan them all at the same time and capture all the data at once? That might save you some time — and money.


Time and money aren’t the only factors that matter when it comes to making sure you have the best barcode scanning system — especially in the cannabis sector. Having good software hardware and software helps assure consumers are getting the right products. And then there’s traceability. Most state regulatory agencies require the ability to track every seed, every plant, every harvest, indeed every single product on store shelves through from seed to sale. Each of these levels of tracking has its own particular requirements.


The Secret Life of Barcodes

An international non-profit organization known as GS1 is responsible for setting barcode standards and administering a central database of barcodes.


Barcodes provide a graphic representation of an identifying number. Each individual code is tied to a specific record and field in a database. The UPC-A code that we are all familiar with is the standard used in the United States to identify individual retail products.


The number of kinds of information that can be stored in a barcode or QR symbol is literally infinite. Graphic codes can identify individual products, a batch of products, a supply chain source, or even one particular web page out of the billions of pages available on the Worldwide Web.


Understandably, the most common use of barcodes is inventory control. Even this, which on the surface seems quite simple, can provide a treasure trove of data. A product identifier — usually an SKU code — can bring up related data such as the batch the product was produced in, how many of the items are in inventory and exactly where they can be found. it can reveal inventory irregularities and identify potential theft. It can bring up the item’s price and any discounts or coupons associated with it.


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