Cobwebb Barcode

When you are looking to add barcodes to IBM i (AS/400) spooled files, you can’t do better than choose Cobwebb Barcode from Cobwebb Communications. Cobwebb Barcode, a fully integrated module of the Cobwebb suite of business documentation software, allows simple and automatic creation of barcodes for printing labels, as well as for documentation such as despatch notes and invoices.

Specifying a barcode is made straightforward by using the module’s Cobwebb Designer barcode tool, which can take any data from the spooled file, with up to 30 characters able to be added both before and after the barcode so that it may be read directly into a user application.

Cobwebb Barcode can not only produce barcode labels, but also reformat and print documents at the same time. In this way it incorporates functions that would previously have required two separate products.

Cobwebb Barcode helps keep production moving and communication flowing throughout the manufacturing process by printing out labels of any shape or size.

Labels created using Cobwebb Barcode do not require specialised paper; instead, they may be printed on plain paper using a laser printer or a suitable thermal printer (such as Zebra, Intermec, Datamax or Printronix).


  • Automatic creation of barcodes from IBM i spooled files
  • No additional hardware to configure – Cobwebb Barcode is an IBM i native application
  • Seamlessly works alongside your WMS or ERP System
  • Enables quick design and creation of barcode labels (such as Odette, VDA, UPS, DHL, etc.) using the Cobwebb Designer

New Balance UK

Cobwebb Barcode/ Retail

The Desired Result. Achieved.

  • Information printed clearly on small textile labels
  • Barcodes generated from existing documents
  • Fully compatible with New Balance ERP
  • Labels for different areas of production

The Background

Founded in 1906, as the ‘New Balance Arch Support Company’, New Balance is now a leading global athletic brand, based in Boston, Massachusetts, with the company’s European headquarters situated in Warrington, Cheshire.

Manufacturing has always been an integral part of the New Balance company culture and a guiding principle of company policy. Today, New Balance is the only major athletic shoe company that manufactures footwear in the U.S. and the UK with five factories in New England and one in Flimby, Cumbria.  

New Balance differentiates its products in the market through domestic manufacturing and by incorporating advanced technical features, such as blended gel inserts, heel counters and a greater selection of sizes and half-sizes for very narrow and/or very wide widths.

New Balance takes pride on its “Made In The UK” cachet and continues to look to the future by being an efficient and sustainable manufacturer that is recognised for the use of high quality materials, innovative design and fine craftsmanship.

The company is also a highly successful exporter with production from Flimby going to global markets including Europe, Asia Pacific, Japan and China.

The Challenge

New Balance Athletic Shoes (U.K.) Limited needed labels generated by their ERP system to be printed in the right format directly from IBM i. The barcode labels hold business critical information for all stages of the manufacturing process:

  1. Inside Shoe Care Label (AKA Inside Tongue Label)
  2. Shoe Box End Labels
  3. Carton Labels

New Balance required barcodes of various sizes and on different media produced accurately, consistently and in synchronization with the production line.  They also needed a fast and reliable process, with a printer that would generate labels on the right media, with all the information (including images and text) from the spooled file.

The Solution

Cobwebb was able to provide Cobwebb Barcode as a seamless part of a wider production process that is fully integrated with Cobwebb Document Management. Barcode labels for the shoe box (UPC/EAN) and cartons (UPC and Code 128) were synchronised with  real-time production information.

“The carton labels are the most important label in the factory. They definitely help speed up the recording of production, accuracy and speed of the team. The scanned label instantly updates Aurora System 21 with manufacturing information and helps assist with demand planning.”  – Chris Jones, New Balance EMEA Business Analyst

Cobwebb sourced a special printer by Avery Denison for the “inside shoe care label” that would provide high quality output  and precision. Cobwebb Barcode helped process data from IBM i directly by formatting, sorting and converting for multiple thermal label printer types and using multiple printer languages.

As a result, Cobwebb was able to provide a premium barcode label (UPC-A) on textile for inside the shoe that provided key information such as images and product specifications in a small label that was easy to read and interpret. It also created small labels in an orderly fashion.

Cobwebb provided a full solution for New Balance helping them achieve and maintain the company’s high level of production output. Chris Jones also stated: “I can’t think of an instance where Cobwebb Barcode has failed. It has had 100% accuracy in the past 6 years since implementation.”

The Next Step

All Cobwebb products are developed with efficiency improvements and cost saving at the core of the solution. Cobwebb Barcode continues to keep New Balance’s production moving seamlessly forward and enhancing internal communication.

As New Balance grows, Cobwebb continues to provide the company with ongoing support and development changes as needed.