Case Coding And Walmart's GTIN Mandate

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Case Coding And Walmart's GTIN Mandate

Case Coding And Walmart's GTIN Mandate

In February of last year Walmart announced a policy regarding case coding and GTIN requirements, stating that 14-digit Global Trade Item Numbers and barcode symbols representing those numbers could not be printed using inkjet technology.  The new policy, according to Walmart at the time, applied to food items, with the exception of fish, poultry, fresh meat, and produce.  This includes frozen foods.  As you can imagine, companies around the country were struggling to rapidly find solutions that would make them compliant.

 
Walmart claims that inkjet printed GTIN barcodes are frequently illegible, making it impossible for associates using hand-held scanners to scan the items.  All of this ultimately impacts Walmart's inventory and stock replenishment records due to the fact an unscannable barcode compromises electronic data transmission with not only the company's outside trading partners, but within Walmart itself.  Updating these records manually results in a huge waste of time for the world's largest retailer.
 
What's happened over the last year in regards to case coding with Walmart?  According to reports at Packworld, some companies have been successful in proving that corrugated case manufacturers do not have to flexo-print GTIN to satisfy Walmart's requirements.  What seems to be prominently emerging is that hot melt technology for case coding is working well for Walmart.  Hot-melt inkjet coding involves the use of wax resin that melts before being expelled from the nozzle by piezoelectric action using DOD (drop on demand) technology.  In the end, the wax-resin ink becomes solid and dries to the touch in a nano-second on cases, providing codes and characters that are highly legible and well-defined.
 
Markem-Imaje is highly familiar with hot melt technology; in fact, we provide customers with this technology in our 5400 and 5800 printers, and have worked with several customers over the last year to meet and exceed Walmart's requirements in regards to GS-1 scannable and consistent barcodes.  Data printed using hot melt technology doesn't degrade over time, and customers also find that, when compared to ink-based coding and marking systems, there is considerably less mess.  In addition, this technology is an environmentally friendly option when compared to systems using solvent based inks.
 
Ideal for corrugated cases, trays, and wrapping films, our 5400 and 5800 coders provide hot melt technology that is unmatched in the industry, allowing customers to create 100% readable codes that never fade or bleed.  Those looking for solutions to come into compliance with Walmart's requirement for case coding can trust Markem-Imaje for superior solutions. 
 

January 10, 2014
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