Outer case inkjet printing of bar codes has become the latest link in the supply chain to benefit from 'e.centre' guidelines.

The best practice guide from the UK bar code standards authority is designed to help supply chain companies and retailers achieve consistently ‘right first time’ EAN-128 and ITF-14 inkjet bar codes printed onto fibreboard cases.

‘The document has been necessary because bar codes produced by inkjet printing have not consistently met the quality required by General EAN.UCC Specifications,’ explains e. centre director Andrew Osborne.

‘Although this technology may not be a viable solution for every business, for those where inkjet printing is suitable, following these guidelines will help produce consistently high quality symbols that can be read anywhere in the supply chain.’

As part of the e.centre’s two year trial process, Markem along with Domino became the first of the coding and marking companies to develop systems to meet the standards, others are expected to follow.

‘One of the key benefits means manufacturers can operate better just-in-time operations because they can now truly print on-demand for the first time,’ comments Markem’s Tony Walsh.

‘Manufacturers can now strip out all the costs associated with the design administration, storage and wastage management of pre-printed generic outer cases. Over a trading year this can often be a substantial sum of money.’