If you have never used barcodes for your business before, or like the majority of people buying the weeks shopping just given them a swift glance, barcode labels all have one thing in common. They all appear to look exactly the same. So much so they tend to have little importance to the consumer who does not understand them and hence they almost become invisible. The employee who is scanning daily too is only taking part in a task as a means to an end.
But the wise business manger needs to go behind the immediate presentation of funny black and white lines and what appear to be random alpha-numeric numbers to find the most effective type of barcode for their business needs.There are hundreds out there and many are for specialist industries but I have detailed the most common below:
This type of barcode is recognised by the fact that it uses alpha-numeric code below the lines as well as everyday punctuation marks. Therefore if you wanted to, you could actually have a direction or statement. This symbology is more commonly used for shipping, asset management, and unique identifiers.
EAN-13 and EAN-8
This is recognised by a 13 digit GTIN (Global trade Identification number) and tends to be used on retail products which are going to be sold worldwide. There is an option for an extra 2 to 5 digits. The EAN-8 is its smaller cousin which is used globally on products which are too small for the EAN-13.
Recognised by its long length and small width, it stores data for various applications such as product container information, dimensions and weight, inventory management and internal codes.
Interleaved 2 of 5
The strangely titled “Interleaved 2 of 5″ is used for industrial applications and cartridge identification. It is recognised by the fact that it stores an even number of digits.
ISBN stands for International Standard Book number and is used on books for inventory use. Found on the back leaf it may also have a smaller code to the right of it which stores the recommended retail price.
ITF-14 barcodes are specifically used on cartons, cases and pallets of retail products. The products themselves inside the container would have their own EAN number.
UPC-A and UPC-E
These two are only found in the United States. the former mirrors the EAN-13 and encodes a 12 digit GTIN. The UPC-E is the American version of the EAN-8.
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