Monday, August 2, 2010

Application Of Barcodes In Postal Systems

The barcode technology has been widely used in the postal system because it improves handling of items (mail and parcels) and helps to reduce internal costs. The use of barcodes in the postal sector has been given more priority as it accelerates the sorting and delivery processes. Barcode labels are easily readable, efficient and highly precise.

Barcodes have been developing not only in the type of encoded data but also in the amount of data encoded. There are 3 types of barcodes. They are 1D, 2D and 3D barcode. 3D barcode is presently not utilized in the postal industry. Examples of 1D barcodes are the PosNet, which is employed by the United States Postal Service (USPS), and the 4 State Customer Code, which is employed by Royal Mail. This barcodes just consists of basic information about the destination address, generally the postal code. The development of new products and services, such as tracking and tracing, and the requirement to enhance the security of the postal items have been the motivation for innovative and new encoding methods in barcodes (like unique identification and 2D barcodes).

These techniques help in encoding of a huge amount of information in the postal franking system. Deutsche Post, for instance, utilizes the 1D Identcode. This code is different from other 1D barcodes, as it is mainly used to encode the number of the outgoing or leaving mail centre, the customer code, the delivery number and the check digit. These 11 digits together compose the tracking number which identifies the item in a unique or extraordinary way. United Parcel Service (UPS) employs the 2D Maxicode for high speed sorting or grouping and for accumulating nearly 93 data characters of information. Encoding a huge amount of meaningful information is actually becoming an important characteristic for offering best postal services.

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