Royal Mail rolling out 2D barcodes

Royal Mail has announced the launch of 2D barcodes at its Post Office branches.

2D barcodes can carry far more data than the old line barcodes that have been around for many years. These are arranged in a square and can be seen as a pattern of different sized dots on an item or piece of paper. When originally developed they were used to allow smart phone users to access websites, but they have been developed further for industry use.

8,000 of the UK’s 11500 Post Office branches will now use Royal Mail 2D barcodes, that will be used on all UK and international parcels, as well as large letters, passing through the Royal Mail system, where the postage is paid for in a branch. The rest of the Post Offices will be able to use them by 2016.

The 2D system has been used for some time by many of the largest companies using bulk and high volume mail, such as Amazon, but is now being made available to small and medium sized businesses.

Technical innovation saves the company money and helps drive efficiency in the newly privatised business. With the 2D system it should help tackle losses of mail in the system that handles billions of pieces a year.

Businesses using online Click and Drop have been able to use this system for some time, and as well as those using Online Postage, which were launched earlier this year. Sorting offices and distribution centres are now using ‘finger scanners’ to help sort parcels manually.