Fast Growing Bakery Secures Date Codes and M&S Code of Practice Compliance with OAL

OAL has helped a fast growing family bakery ensure their fantastic cakes and scones have the right date code and packaging. The OAL system includes label and date code verification (Autocoding) and expanded paperless quality and factory performance modules that have reduced unplanned downtime. Significantly, the system has helped ensure compliance with the M&S code of practice.


A fast growing family bakery based in Northern Ireland who produce and pack a variety of homemade bakery products from cakes, to scones, to rolls. Their products are distributed to a number of major retailers, including Marks and Spencers.


The bakery contacted OAL (Olympus Automation Ltd.) as they required a replacement label and date code verification system to comply with their retailer codes of practice due to the failure of an existing autocoding system. A requirement of the new system was to support the reporting and improvement of operational efficiency and productivity.

The previously installed autocoding system put the bakery at risk of breaching the retailer codes of practice, the associated fine as well as loss to brand reputation product recalls and withdrawals can cause.


OAL Autocoding was installed across two packing lines at the bakery to ensure the correct label, date code and price had been applied to the products.

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The two lines the autocoding system has been installed on runs products in carton trays on an auto-cartoner and flow wrapped products in clear film in an acetate tray. A touch screen terminal was installed on each line that linked to the scanners and the Videojet Inkjet and Zebra thermal transfer printers.

The 2D Scanning Feature

The 2D barcode and scanning system has enabled the bakery to scan and collect information on all products without the need for EAN barcodes. This traceable system certifies that the correct labels and packaging are on the products.

The scanners scan every code on all products on the line. It then compares the scanned product to the job information the operator entered in pre-production. This identity system is more accurate than a vision system as it is dependant on a higher match percentage for the item to pass the check.

If a mismatch error does occur then the line stops and requires investigation for production to recommence. The risk of human error when entering data is significantly reduced with autocoding as data is recorded automatically in real-time and displayed live on the HMI systems. This can help operators make more informed, faster decisions. 

Unlike 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes provide complete control over the version of packaging used.  2D barcodes are not under the control of the retailer, so can be adjusted when there are any minor changes to the packaging to ensure that old packaging is not used.


How OAL Autocoding work? - click to expand

The OAL Autocoding system has provided the bakery assurance that they now comply with retailer codes of practice. The system is reliable and the retailers and the bakery now have complete confidence that their label, date codes and packaging is correct and secured against errors.


To find out more about how you can secure your brand reputation with automation by eliminating label and packaging errors, download our white paper by clicking below.

Lauren Moir