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Simplified Data Capture Using QR Codes or Barcodes

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

“In God we trust. All others must bring data.”

— William Edwards Deming

One of the struggles with implementing IT systems on the shop floor is the ability to capture good data. A great example is with nonconforming material tracking. Not all defects are obvious by looking at the part, so providing a description of that defect in your system is helpful. The problem is that recording the details of the description into your ERP or quality system can be time consuming. Often details are omitted or abbreviated. “Bad order”, “NFG” and “Broke” are some examples that I’ve seen in my career.

QR Codes or Barcodes are a great way to save time doing data entry.

Convert standard data, such as defect descriptions into QR Codes or Barcodes using free websites. An example can be seen by clicking the image below.

I’ll explain the rest of the process using the defect description example. Let’s take a simple metal square with a hole in it. Create a bar code or a QR code for the highest probable defects, such has hole oversized, hole out of location, hole out of round, etc. Place these codes onto a single document page, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Print and laminate the pages for each shop floor pc. Make sure that a scanner is available and is set up to be used as a keyboard wedge.

The operator will put the cursor in the field where the data is to be captured and simply scan the code rather than type to fill in the data. This works for drop down selections as well. Simply convert each choice in the drop down into a code and create a page. Be sure to label everything and audit the quality of the documents. When they get worn, which happens frequently in the shop, just replace them.

Happy Scanning!

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