Barcode cannot be scanned or read?

GS1 Can Help!

Barcodes have been synonymous with product identification and trade for the past 40 years. Each set of those easily recognizable black bars and spaces represent a products’ unique identification number in a computer-readable format.

At some point, our members have asked the following questions:

Why my barcode can't be read or scanned! 

When I scan my product's barcode, nothing shows up!

How does not being able to read or scan my products' barcode affect me and my company?

Why should I care if my barcode cannot be read?


GS1 identification keys & barcodes is the key fundamental access to trusted product information, which is critical in preparing businesses to serve the world's current biggest group of spenders, some of whom are just now coming of age; Millennials and Generation Z.


These are spenders who demand a high level of quality in product information, that are also easily accessible, takinginto account the high level of connectivity that is the daily lives of both generations. Their roots steeped in mobile devices, Internet and FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google), both generations are used to living and spending their wealth online.

As such, the quality of the GS1 barcode symbol in question as well as the authenticity of the GS1 key would greatly affect their preception of the product or company it represents.

Therefore, ensuring that your barcode can be easily read or scanned is a very simple way of making sure all stakeholders are able to access pertinent product information. But when is a barcode not readable or scannable?

From GS1's perspective, when a barcode cannot be read or scanned, it is usually because:

The barcode is the wrong sizeshape or color,

The barcode is damaged,

The barcode was not encoded (converted into bars and spaces) correctly,

The barcode's location on the product packaging prevents a clear scan,

The barcode itself is fine, but is not linked with any product information yet, so nothing shows up when scanned, 

The barcode itself is fine, but the hardware or software is faulty.

   With so many reasons, how can you determine if your barcode is alright?


GS1 Can Help!

GS1 Malaysia provides a comprehensive barcode check program called the Barcode Quality Control Program.

It comprises of barcode validation, barcode verification & barcode decoding.

What is Barcode Validation?

Barcode Validation is the process of confirming that the correct barcode information is being applied to the correct product, but not necessarily that the barcode meets a particular quality standard. GS1 Malaysia does this by checking if a product’s information matches the information stored in GS1 Malaysia’s Member Product Databank.

What is Barcode Verification?

Barcode verification is the process of grading barcodes using barcode verifiers. Barcode verifiers are precision instruments which grade 1-D barcodes (also called linear barcodes, these are the usual ones found on product packaging) and 2-D barcodes (these are usually found on products that require additional information to be encoded into a barcode, like medicine) according to quality parameters defined by industry standards which are developed by international organizations like ANSI/ISO and industry groups like GS1 and HIBCC. These standards enable the various systems and solutions in any given supply chain to talk to one another, such as between barcode printing and scanning systems (the process is also referred to as interoperability), so that both industries and individuals can depend on symbols being printed and scanned successfully, regardless of where they were produced or handled. GS1 Malaysia will put your barcodes through a barcode verifier to grade it.

What is Barcode Decoding?

The process of ‘reading’ a barcode is also called decoding, as a scanner reads each line and space of a barcode to determine what they represent. (In contrast, putting information into a barcode is called encoding). The information decoded from a barcode is dependent on whether it was encoded correctly in the first place. GS1 Malaysia will compare the decoded information with the original information to see if they match.

How can I make use of this service?

You can do so by sending samples of your product’s packaging or labels to GS1 Malaysia, where we will subject the sample to our comprehensive verification process, using state-of-the-art barcode verifiers that provide detailed reports on the condition and scannability of any given barcode.

To learn more about the Barcode Quality Control Program, contact GS1 Malaysia at, via phone at +603-62867200 or via Whatsapp at +6011-16168228.

Kindly send your physical samples (together with this submission form) to the following location:

GS1 Malaysia Berhad (1201396-K)

Wisma FMM,

No. 3, Persiaran Dagang, PJU 9,

Bandar Sri Damansara,

52200 Kuala Lumpur