“The barcode technology leverages the UPC, a 12-digit identification scheme to identify products in retail, supply chain, inventory, FMCG, etc.”
A barcode and a UPC (Universal Product Code) are two techniques that work together to identify a product. A barcode and UPC make it easy for a retailer to sell products.
UPC is used to track the supply chain of the product around the world. As a technology, UPC was invented by George Laurer at IBM in 1973 to maintain records of products in grocery stores.
UPC is a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number). Even though we now have more advanced and efficient technologies in the form of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and EPC (Electronic Product Code), barcoding is still being used in various businesses.
What are barcodes?
A barcode is a machine-readable representation of data. It consists of a pattern of parallel lines with different widths and spacings. It can store numeric and alphanumeric data. Barcodes are scanned by optical barcode scanners to input the data into the database as well as decode the information for the end users.
Barcodes are a common technique used by retail store items, identification cards, etc. It is used to provide details about products and to manage accurate inventory of items in the warehouses and stores.
What is a UPC?
A UPC (Universal Product Code) is a 12-digit numbering scheme that identifies a product and its manufacturer details. They are printed on product packaging and labels. They are typically used in retail stores as part of selling or purchasing the product.
MNCs are influencing the market to use UPC. For example, Amazon asks their sellers to have a UPC list for adding new items. Businesses can purchase their UPC’s license from GS1. It ensures each UPC is a unique identifier and maintains interoperability between organizations.
How barcode technology uses UPC (Universal Product Code)?
Barcode technology has been in existence for decades but its true potential was realized when UPC was invented by George Laurere, an IBM Engineer. He was tasked with designing a mechanism to use barcode for grocery store items.
The UPC is a 12-digit number assigned to the different products, while the barcode is the machine-readable form of that number. These two combine together to store data about a product in a machine readable format.
The various parts of the 12-digit number have different roles.
1. The first six digits contain the manufacturer identification details.
2. The next five digits contain details about the number of items.
3. The last digit contains the check digits, which ensures the barcode is correctly composed.
Manufacturers can apply for the UPC from GS1. After approval, manufacturers need to pay some charging amount to be a part of a UPC-based manufacturer. Then, they get their unique manufacturer identification. The item number is unique to each manufactured product. Manufacturers are responsible for issuing those unique numbers and avoiding duplication of the product number.
How do barcodes and UPCs work?
Barcodes are graded on a scale from A to F. It is an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard for barcodes that use alphabetic grading from A to F. The higher your grade, the better your barcode and UPC will be for the business. The latest ISO/IEC (International Organisation for Standardisation/International Electrotechnical Commission) defines the technique required for both one-dimensional and two-dimensional barcodes. It will label the barcodes after performing some electronic tests. 4.0 is the best result of that testing, 1.5 is a passing grade for each of them, 0.5 is the outer case, and 0 is a failure.
ISO/IEC ANSI grade
3.5 - 4.0 A
2.5 - 3.5 B
1.5 - 2.5 C
0.5 - 1.5 D
0 - 0.5 F
Every barcode has a quiet zone. This zone is a space around the barcode that should be free from text, graphics, or other elements. It is considered to be the end of the barcode, which should be blank.
The advantage of UPC
1. UPC improves the checkout process for a product. It has effectively removed the old manual data input technique.
2. UPC also improves inventory management and tracking. It provides insight to the merchants about their stocks in the warehouse.
The advantages of barcodes
1. Using barcodes in the process of collecting the product data is much more accurate than having a salesperson manually feed the data.
2. It shares real-time information about the inventory, which improves the time of action to fulfill the needs.
3. Barcode scanners are easy to use, and an employer doesn't require much time to learn about the workings of barcodes.
4. Barcode and UPS are helping the business improve its smooth functioning in managing inventory and maintaining a track record of products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is SKU?
SKU stands for stock-keeping unit. It contains an alphanumeric code that sellers use to identify and track the state of products. SKUs are usually 8-digit numbers associated with the product code. It provides the analytics of their sales that lead to developing a relationship between sellers and customers.
Q2. What are the types of barcodes?
There are two types of barcodes: 1- dimensional (1D) and 2-dimensional (2D).
1- Dimensional barcodes are a parallel series of black-and-white bars that can store information like type, size, and color. It encodes the data horizontally, from left to right. 1-D barcodes are also known as linear barcodes. On the other hand, 2- Dimensional barcodes are more complex and can contain more information than a 1-dimensional barcode. It can store the various stages of inventory and even the image of a product. 2D barcodes are also known as matrix barcodes.
Q3. How many UPCs do I need per product?
Every variation of your product will require its own UPC. It means that if one retailer sells multiple variations of a similar product, each product requires a unique UPC.
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- Last updated on Sep 28, 2023