Barcode labels in their many forms and variations are embedded in every part of the market. They are interwoven into every product, transaction, and service. Because they are such a common sight, people may sometimes take their importance for granted.
Each stroke of the black and white lines represents a series of codes that is transcribed into a record that allows a company to keep track of inventory, accounting, revenues, and income. Without it, a business would lose control over its inventory and fail.
However, to ensure the integrity and quality of each barcode, it has to follow certain standards prescribed by law to ensure its efficient use for consumers and businesses alike. You can’t simply print any barcode, stick it to your products and get it over with.
You have to ensure that these product labels conform to specific rules to avoid violations and litigations.
What Is a Barcode?
In its most basic form, a barcode label is composed of vertical lines that form a rectangular or square shape of different thicknesses, white spaces, and numbers. Together, these imprints are scanned by computers, which are then translated as codes to gain data from the product.
Invented by Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver, these unassuming barcodes were first used by railway companies to keep track of their trains’ paths as they leave and arrived at the station. Now, its applications have expanded to a wide variety of things, ranging from supermarkets, licenses, passports, luggage, hospital bands, rental cars, and ad promotion.
9 Product Code Types
Barcodes come in different sizes and shapes, depending on how they are used. This includes QR codes or linear ones. The former can include URLs, images, and websites in its codes, while the latter is for consumer goods and price labels.
Taking advantage of the binary code of computers, the black bars’ widths represent a number, which is then translated into more comprehensive data.
Below are the 9 different types of barcodes:
- UPC, which is the most popularly used in the USA and contains 7 to 12 digits.
- EAN, which is widely used in Europe and contains 8 to 13 digits.
- Code 39, which is used by the US Department of Defence, is commonly applied to automotive production.
- Code 128, which is similar to Code 39, contains more information.
- Codabar, which used in libraries, delivery systems, and blood banks.
- Interleaved 2 of 5, which is used for shipping containers and warehouse use.
- QR code, which is used for business promotion and smartphone transactions
- PDF417, which is used in IDs and employee passes.
- Data matrix, which is used for appliances and electrical components.
Benefits of Barcodes for Business
Barcodes have made it easier for businesses and establishments to create safe systems that track the movement of employees, goods, and income. They also have other benefits as well, including:
- Better Accuracy
With careful and precise label printing, barcodes have less margin of error when it comes to holding pertinent data regarding product information. With a simple swipe, everything that you need to know about a product appears right away.
- Spontaneous Data Collection
Barcodes cut the time of having employees look up the price of each product in the market. As it is already embedded, the need for memorization, or price familiarization, is eliminated.
- Less Training
With its simple application and convenient use, an employee doesn’t need rigorous training to easily swipe a barcode with a scanner. This allows for more efficiency and ease in transactions.
- Inventory Tracking
Inventory management is crucial for any business as it helps you budget better for the coming months to avoid overspending. Barcodes help you make those informed decisions by keeping track of every product that comes in and out of your business.
With a simple sticker printing process, barcode technology is affordable and accessible. If you’re planning to digitize your store, you only need a small investment.
- Asset tracking
Barcodes make it easier for businesses to monitor the use of capital assets such as vehicles, computers, and electronic devices, which will allow you to safeguard those items from misuse.
Accounting in a business keeps track of the payables and receivables that are due within a period. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult process, time-consuming, and with a high level of error. Fortunately, barcodes are there to expedite the invoice fulfillment process.
- Mail and Warehouse Use
Because it can carry any information, barcodes can help you scan letters and packages so couriers and employees know that the right product is being shipped or delivered.
GS1 Standards for Barcodes
Same-day sticker printing may be allowed for other consumer and industry labels. However, some barcodes will require a higher level of printing to ensure that it’s accurate and well-made. One of the organizations that ensure it is the GS1. It is a non-profit organization that established business standards to ensure that each barcode is good for use. Such standards include the following:
- Barcodes should follow the standard Global Location Number Format (GLN).
- The EAN code should provide information about the product’s origin.
- Serial Shipping Container Codes should identify shipping accurately.
- GS1-128 should contain all the 40 elements so it provides crucial information regarding the product’s batch number, expiry date, reference numbers, company ID, date of production, and units of scale.
Benefits of Conforming to GS1 Standards
By following these standards, your organization can benefit from:
- Continuous product tracking from sender to receiver
- Better shipment consolidation
- Complete and accurate information
- Reduced margin of error when scanning
- Surplus checks
Barcodes are everywhere, playing an integral role in today’s market. However, to ensure that they remain functional, they have to follow certain industry standards that make them better for various applications. Make sure to double-check this standards list first before you label the items in your store or warehouse.
For your printing needs and products, turn to ProScan Media. We offer a variety of label products and specialize in manufacturing grocery label rolls. Call us now at (289) 372-3043 for inquiries.