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Baltimore company’s success built on pushing barcode boundaries

Christine Condon//June 7, 2017

Baltimore company’s success built on pushing barcode boundaries

By Christine Condon

//June 7, 2017

Jay Steinmetz, CEO of Barcoding Inc. stands in his office. (The Daily record / Maximilian Franz)
Jay Steinmetz, CEO of Barcoding Inc. stands in his office. (The Daily record / Maximilian Franz)

When it comes to tracking inventory, Baltimore-based Barcoding Inc. pushes the envelope, moving beyond basic barcodes to trace products as they move throughout facilities.

“We’ve constantly innovated,” said Jay Steinmetz, founder and CEO of the company. “We first started online. We were thinking of cloud-based solutions before other people did … But we pivoted, we changed, we started getting into advanced RFID [Radio Frequency Identification] technology.”

This ability set the company apart, said Tamie Howie, executive director of the Maryland Tech Council, which has named Barcoding Inc. its Top Technology Company of 2017.

“I think it’s the energy,” she said. “That’s what really put them over the top. And their ability to pivot and really think outside the box.”

RFID uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track objects bearing chips. It holds an advantage over barcodes. With RFID, objects can be tracked without being positioned precisely beneath a scanner; they need only be nearby. With low-energy bluetooth, a type of RFID technology, these chips can transmit up to 100 feet away.

The RFID division is the company’s strongest, Steinmetz said. Clients can test it out at the company’s Technology Integration Center in Illinois.

The company honed in on this proximity detection technology after it acquired Miles Technology Inc — the largest acquisition in company history. Barcoding Inc. has tripled the size of Miles’ original RFID department since acquiring the company, Steinmetz said.

Barcoding was launched in 1998. Since then, it has made numerous strategic acquisitions, including that of NV3 Technologies, which was then relaunched as Power Up. It produces charging systems that can be used on-the-go, as they were at this year’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

“We’ve been able to parlay a lot of technology coming out of the lab,” Steinmetz said. “And we have spent a lot of time cultivating our relationships with customers.”

The company serves about 3,000 clients annually, he said, and has 13 offices around the country, as well as the Illinois Integration Center, and an affiliate office in the Netherlands under the company’s former name — Capture Tech. Its annual revenue is about $80 million, Steinmetz said.

Barcoding Inc. is looking toward item sensing and omnipresence location systems to track clients’ assets, Steinmetz said. These systems can track items anywhere in a facility, whereas previous systems could only track them when scanned at certain points.

Howie called the company a “community player,” and praised its ability to encourage both employees within their company and others in the area. Steinmetz said he helped set up the Supply Chain Institute at Baltimore Community College, and Barcoding Inc. has deployed tracking systems at the Ronald McDonald House Charities center.

“Part of our whole mission has been to be part of the Baltimore community and to be supportive of the community,” he said.

For Steinmetz, Barcoding’s success has become uniquely personal. Steinmetz said that after he had a falling out with a former business partner, he wanted to prove he still could be successful.

“I want to make my success my vengeance,” he said.


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