UNIVERSAL PRODUCT CODE is a code consisting of a series of vertical bars of variable width that are scanned by a laser; printed on consumer product packages to identify the item for a computer that provides the price and registers inventory information. These zebra looking line segments are almost on every product. It was first used in 1974. Every merchandise has a unique 12 digits figure which appears below the black and white lines. The first six numbers shows the company or manufacturer by which it is produced. Last five are numbers assigned for the product by the manufacturer and last one is the check number used to check any errors while scanning the code. Users can obtain it from GS1, US – a non-profit group that sets standards for international commerce
SIZE: Normal size of UPC is 1.02 inches high and 1.469 inches in width. 200% larger and 80% smaller is allowed, depending on the size of the product. the larger the UPC code is The better it will be as it will be easy to scan.
CONTRAST: It works best when light surface and dark bars as it would be easily readable by scanners.
POSITION OF NUMBERS:
A: Number System Character: It indicates the number system that is to follow. Different characters are assigned to different product types. it is assigned by Uniform Code council.
B: Manufacturer Identification Number: different for every manufacturer. It is assigned by Uniform code council.
C: Item Number: it is different for every product. Assigned and controlled by owner.
USES: Used in grocery stores, super markets, etc. changes regarding the product can be made in databases only without changing the bar-code for example, price and also helps to keep track of inventory.
ADVANTAGES: increases the speed and accuracy of the check out and check in process. Reduces the workload of cashiers. Also reduces the line-ups at the cash counters. Helps to record everything about the product with just one scan.
DISADVANTAGES: not quick and good as RFID. It is Expensive because equipment which is needed for scanning is expensive. Poor print quality, as it works with the contrast of colors of bars and base it can create a error if not printed properly and if size of the code is not proper.
The development and the contribution of UPC.
Further information about how do UPCs work.