Two-dimensional supply chain

March 2018 Retail (Industry), Access Control & Identity Management

When goods leave a retail warehouse and are delivered to a retail outlet, two of the challenges are ensuring that the driver assigned to the delivery vehicle is actually the one driving the vehicle, and that the quantity of goods dispatched matches the quantity of goods received.

According to Riaan van den Berg, MD of Excellent ID (EXID), the 2D barcode reader is the ideal technology for verifying the identity of a driver using their South African Driver’s Licence (SADL), and for ensuring the correct quantity of goods is received.

He points out that not only can a 2D scanner be used for deliveries and collections by retailer-owned vehicle drivers, but are also becoming increasingly popular with courier and logistics companies. When courier companies collect goods from a client, they can use a 2D barcode scanner to scan the unique barcode allocated to a consignment of goods. A big plus with 2D barcode scanners is that they not only read the newer 2D barcodes, but they can also read the old 1D barcodes.

The EXID eSkan 2D barcode scanner.
The EXID eSkan 2D barcode scanner.

A 2D barcode can store more information than a traditional 1D (linear) barcode, such as the batch’s assigned location, for increased traceability. With information stored directly in the barcode rather than in a database over a network, retailers can conduct on-the-spot audits with a laptop and a 2D scanner. 2D barcodes can also store information, like batch production date, expiration dates, scheduled ship date, number of products in a batch.

Van den Berg says that a 2D barcode scanner is the ideal tool for supply chains, when linked to customer-specific logistics management and inventory control software. “2D barcode scanners have been designed to cater for identification verification of the vehicles entering and exiting premises, for access control and for asset management. Therefore, they can be used to link the driver (and his SADL) to the vehicle’s licence disc. The odometer reading of the vehicle can be monitored by entering the reading when leaving the dispatch area, on entering the delivery area and then on its return to the original dispatch area.

The benefits of using 2D barcode scanners is that verification is guaranteed through the electronic capture of information in the barcode. This effectively streamlines the delivery/collection process, allowing for a faster through-flow of delivery vehicle traffic. Additionally, since everything is now on an electronic record, one can quickly refer back to the data. Since the times of departure and arrival of a driver are recorded, incident reports are instantaneous.

Van den Berg believes that a number of factors could be considered as best practice for identification verification in the retail sector. Devices should be portable, simple to use, splash-proof and robust enough to continuously operate in the demanding South African environment.

2D barcode scanners should have a long battery life since they will be used frequently and they should not be too heavy or large. An ideal device size is 120 x 70 x 50 mm and with a weight of approximately 175 grams. The software and any captured data should be resident on the device, but should be accessible only by the owner of the system, to ensure complete security and confidentiality.

Weighing less than a packet of coconut biscuits, the EXID eSkan 2D reader is a locally-designed and manufactured mobile SADL reader, which can also read third-party 1D and 2D barcodes. When partnered with Janus software, the eSkan allows retailers to quickly determine exactly who is on site, for accurate mustering purposes. The eSkan complies with both the OSH Act and PoPI Act (password protected) for decoding and storing confidential information.

For more information, contact EXID, +27 (0)12 548 0940, [email protected],

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