Possible Scanner - MSP - Barcode
Problems and Defenses
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Source: Written by Denny Belden - AKA VetCarrier: President NALC Branch 1091 Orlando, FL

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1. If a carrier scans the hot case scan, and accidentally scans your bar code, it will automatically lock out anyone else from entering the bar code. This means that when you leave and scan your bar code, at the end of the day, the other carrier locked you out from downloading the office scans and you will show up as missing all the office scans. Your proof will be the mileage entered in the scanner from the previous days' return to office scan. Although you will show up as a missed scan, you cannot enter the mileage without having scanned the back to office scan. This was done a year and a half ago. I have not seen that they have corrected this error.

2. A dirty or wet cover to the laser (red plastic piece) may cause the scanner to miss the scan.

3. We have had an express mail scanned and then show up as missed. The investigation turned up that the label was numbered with one number, but the bar code showed another express number. Hence, the express showed a failure because of the (dual) misnumbered label.

3a. Very strong Electromagnetic pulses can cause lost scans or even totally erase the memory chip (X-ray machines, Construction and Junk Yard Electromagnets for heavy lifting, heavy industrial electromagnets, ETC.) [matt sause Br139 West Central MO]

4. The batteries have begun to lose their charge and won't scan correctly.

5. The bar-code label becomes worn and won't scan correctly. 5a) Labels printed on a "personal computer" have incomplete or missing lines in the bar code because of a dirty print head.

6. There is a computer error.

7. Most holsters have a drainage rivet right where it contacts and scratches the plastic.

7a): If you place the Scanner in the "HOLSTER" [we are never supposed to use that WORD because it connotes "Going Postal!"] with the infrared DOT up, it avoids the scratches on the plastic covering.

8. The very common inaccuracies and errors that are found in the scanner data retrieval system is exactly why the language was agreed to.

9. Ask for the manufacturer's accuracy figures. This should be a sound way of combating a claim of missed scans. Whether management can actually supply such a document is unknown to me, but until they do, I would claim that any missed scans are due to the error rate of the scanner. I read a post a few months ago where someone had said that the manufacturer only certified the scanners to read accurately 98% of the time. If that is true, then one out of 50 scans would not be recorded, and no carrier would be to blame.

10. Since the only evidence for this type of discipline (unless the supervisor actually witnessed the carrier missing the scan) is the "MSP data," how can management use it as the "sole basis" for discipline? An inadvertent, occasional missed scan is to be expected, especially since no installation's MSP scan expectation is fairly set at 100%. Such an unrealistic expectation of perfection would in itself constitute a violation of just cause. Carriers in our installation make 60 scans per week, 240 per month. Just how many misses would justify discipline, even after a job discussion?

11. Make sure the scanner has right info in it as well... sometimes our PO Box section clerks will grab our scanners and type in their zip code. If you aren't awake in the morning, you might miss this. Another time a carrier grabbed my scanner and scanned in a different route number and I didn't catch it until the supervisor told me.

12. Once a scanner is returned to the office, it must be put back in the cradle exactly right or it won't download correctly. We had some missed scans in our office that were due to the PM clerk not putting the scanner back correctly.

13. If you scan the bar code after another scans it, you are locked out. Have the manager attempt this and prove if a lockout occurs. It will shoot holes in their contention that the carrier failed to do his duty.

14. A carrier was written up for failure to scan an express, which he claims he did. They scanned the express mail with the numbers under the bar code. The scanner showed a completely different number in the scanner.

15. Scanned an MSP scan a number of times with it showing successfully scanned and it never showed up. Was again scanned over a four day period and each time added additional scans to the bar code. 1 the first day, twice the second, and so on. The mgr. replaced the bar code and no longer a problem, however, it was saying all was well, but not downloading. The ONLY thing management can prove is that the scanner did not download onto their computer. They cannot PROVE that the carrier did not scan the item. They may infer he didn't, but they cannot prove it.

16. The only proof they have is that the computer printout failed to download a successful scan. They were not there, so there is NO PROOF that the carrier failed to do his duty. Only an assumption he didn't, because of an already proven fallible computer program. When asked management cannot definitively tell you that the computer program is completely infallible and absolutely perfect. Ask that in an interview. Be sure to bring up that their own computer programs for CFS and DPS have a 2% error rate they attribute to them, so they know the programs are not perfect. The only one for sure that knows if the bar code is scanned is the carrier since they were the only ones there and their statement says it was scanned. There is no proof to the contrary, just a failed download.

17. If the battery is dying it will purge memory to keep important scans. If there is an internal memory problem or the scanner is dying for whatever reason it purges. A good brand new scanner can hold 300 scans per day. The older the scanner gets the less it can hold. If you check out the instruction manual for them they will give you a list of most important scans to least important scans: express registered mail certified mail insured mail delivery confirmations signature confirmations collection MSP

18. If the scanner is placed in the cradle, and the supervisor attempts to download the information too quickly, for example to check collection scans, the report will show the last few (depending on how soon the download was attempted) as missed scans. Downloading after about 10 minutes seems to capture all the information.

19. If you press a few number buttons before scanning the MSP bar code, the MSP numbers will appear after the inadvertently added numbers, and the scan point will not show up when your supervisor checks. However, I've been told there is a section of the MSP report that lists odd, unusual, and undocumented MSP scans, and the missing MSP number, including the extra numbers, will show up there.

20. One thing we learned here is that if you change your scanner to another route (like if you help on another route) and don't change it back, the return scans WON'T register. My return scans didn't register twice last, and my return mileage was in the scanner. Once I think it was because I put my mileage in wrong and did it again to get the proper mileage in. I'd try to figure out how to reproduce the error and scan it in front of them to SHOW them it didn't work. If this is true and they didn't train you in this regard, I'd say that's a pretty good defense.


Source: Written by Denny Belden - AKA VetCarrier: President NALC Branch 1091 Orlando, FL

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