As more and more business process have been automated with the use of barcodes and barcode labels, getting it right is really important. Problems can occur with barcode type, print quality of barcodes or the encoded data. A story reported this week in the Express and Star highlights how issues can quickly arise if not enough attention is paid to encoded barcode data.
Sandwell council barcode blunder
Unfortunately it was quite a huge mistake by the Sandwell council in the West Midlands and involves literally thousands of tax bills. It has left many residents up in arms and angry at the way they have been treated, and while the original effort was to cut costs, this blunder has no doubt left the council having to digg deeper into their pockets to make up for the mess they have created.
A barcode when used properly used is a super effective way of processing the sale of products and payments, keeping a check on the amount of products available in stock. Because they are so effective they are perhaps not given the time and effort they often deserve. They can often mean the difference between a smooth running payment process and .. well..chaos.
The mistake Sandwell council made was sent the wrong barcode out to thousands of their residents. Letters were sent out containing the barcode and the resident was asked to scan it in order to make payment. All the residents were left angry and frustrated when the barcode failed to work so the council repeated the now costly proccess by sending out a second letter with the correct barcode. There is also the cost of the administration to sort everything out.
As usual it seems the council denied it was their mistake and blamed the whole furore on a contractor. It is a pity when news like this hits the headlines because barcodes (and scanning) are very mch the future for processing payments. Its the incompetent human element that causes the problem.
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Thousands of council tax bills have had to be re-sent out across Sandwell after a barcode printing blunder. http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2012/04/02/council-tax-bill-blunder/#ixzz1qvVGs
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