Do You Need to Use Bar Codes?

Most packaged products will have bar codes on them, but some people really don’t understand the importance of these codes in the business world.  Take a closer look at these codes, and you may find that they can be beneficial to your business.

If you sell products and services in a large retail setting, then you might want to consider bar coding.  Bar codes can also be referred to as UPC codes or uniform product codes.  They allow for inventory tracking all the way from the production of the product, to warehousing, to distributing, to sales and service of the products.  Even if you only use these codes internally, they can still be a great way to manage your inventory.

Some businesses create their own bar codes to use for internal tracking.  If you want to use them for external purposes, then you will want to make sure that you are aware of GS1 standards.  These standards ensure that bar codes are usable around the world.  If you want to get GS1 bar codes, you will have to be a member.

The cost of bar coding is really not expensive at all if you take a look at the overall investment.  You can determine your system based on your particular needs.  Here are a few things that you will need to invest in:

  • A GS1 membership
  • Software program
  • Hardware devices, such as a printer, label maker and scanner

Codes are usable by only one product.  The codes do not include pricing information or product details.  This information is stored within the code and can be found when the code is scanned at the point of sale.

Most machines read the lines and spaces of the bar code.  Did you know that you can also read bar codes if you know what you are looking for?  Here are a few tips for reading Canadian bar codes:

  • There is a 12 digit UPC code number
  • The first 6 digits refer to the manufacturer
  • The next 5 digits refer to the item