Edition 73
sQRrl Codes Released and Evolving
by Ken Jacobsen, Co-Chair, RLA Standards Committee, RLA Standards Committee

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sQRrl Codes Released and Evolving

Conference in Las Vegas in February, the RLA Standards Committee released their list of standardized label fields to be used on products to facilitate reverse logistics processing. Called sQRrl codes for Standard QR codes for Reverse Logistics, these labels are designed to supplement bar codes and UPC codes with additional information for manufacturers, logistics professionals, recyclers, refurbishers and consumers. QR code technology can communicate up to four thousand characters of information. Modern bar codes offer one-fourth the capacity. Most products today have multiple bar codes. Why not combine them all into one scan-able label. What additional information would you want to find? There is still room!

In his keynote address, Tom Maher, Vice President of Global Service and Parts discussed some applications for this label. He reported that Dell has a problem with fraudulent returns. Counterfeit products are often difficult to identify. Encrypted labels both on products and on subassemblies would help address this problem. Vejay Raisinghani, Vice President for Reverse Logistics at Google, commented that these labels will help with documenting the repair and refurbishing cycle. Others like GoPro and Intel concurred that this was an attractive feature.

A deficiency in our schema was noted by many. Our initial list of sixty fields did not include fields to expedite transportation. Customs and D.O.T. processes are often slowed down over documentation. Much of this information could be placed onto a scan-able sQRrl code label. We have always considered our project to be a dynamic process and expect that before long we may have over 1000 fields defined in our protocol. Our standard is designed to be open to all suggestions and be technologically agnostic. It works because, as a trade association, we can arbitrate field designation and promote best-practices. Each manufacturer chooses which fields to implement and how many labels they require. In this case, a sQRlr code label might be on the packaging and contain the appropriate information for transportation logistics beyond that provided by the UPC codes.

We have added the following new fields to our schema:



We are open to suggestions for additional field labels. For a complete listing of our protocol, visit http://rla.org/qr-code-listing.php. At the bottom of the list is a form to suggest additional fields.
RLM
Mr. Jacobsen is the Vice President of Business Devellopement for Connexus: a silicon valley software startup focused on warranty management. He was responsible for the creation of the InfraRed Data Association (IrDA) and for the establishment of the PCMCIA. He has provided technology brokering services for HP, Toshiba, and Lockheed. He was part of the Pocket Intelligence Program at SRI, International and has been involved in numerous startups. Most recently, he was a Director of the Global Software Entrepreneurial Training Program at Oulu University in Finland.

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