What are barcodes? A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. Barcodes were originally used in grocery stores, but now they can be found on anything from books to clothing. They are often called “barcodes” or simply “tags.” The term “barcode” was coined in 1952 by Norman Joseph Woodland, an American inventor, and researcher. It took him three years to develop the system of lines and bars that became known as the Universal Product Code (UPC). This code enabled companies to track inventory more efficiently.
Barcodes are usually attached to products for inventory purposes, but they can also be used by libraries to manage book collections or by electronic ticketing agencies that sell plane or train tickets. Keep reading to find out how to find certified barcode numbers.
Although the U.P.C. Company Prefix is free, you need to license your U.P.C numbers if you intend to use them commercially or sell products that display the numbers as part of their packaging or appearance (for example, as engraved on platinum). You can do this by paying a licensing fee for each barcode number you use.
The licensing agreement is a legal document that allows you to use the barcodes and protects the owner of the Universal Product Codes (UPC) prefix from other companies that might want to use their numbers. It also ensures that the owner of the prefix will be notified if someone tries to misuse their number or if there is a problem with it (for example, if it is incorrectly identified as a product code instead of a company identifier).
Finally, it allows you to use the U.P.C. database to help you find relevant information about your industry and competitors. You can also pay for this service on an annual basis and get real-time updates that will remain current for the duration of your subscription.
Apply for a U.P.C. Company Prefix
The first step in obtaining a barcode number is to apply for a U.P.C. Company Prefix from the Uniform Product Code Council (U.P.C.C.). This council is the international governing body for barcodes. There is a small fee to apply for a number, but this is the only way to have an official company prefix.
You can find your barcode number by looking at package labels or other products that display a U.P.C. symbol and checking the small print under the symbols. The lowest numbers assigned are prefixed with 000, so you should avoid these numbers if you want an exclusive barcode.
Assign Unique Product Numbers
The next step is to assign U.P.C. numbers to your products or inventories. You can do this by using a computer scanner or other electronic device that reads barcodes. This will give you the information you need, but it is also possible to use an alphanumeric system to assign unique codes for each item in your inventory.
These unique numbers will make it easy to track your items, but you can also use the U.P.C. database to find out how much other companies are charging for similar products. You can then set your prices accordingly or choose not to compete with the company that owns the U.P.C number associated with a certain product category.
Determine How Your Product Will Display Barcodes
You also need to decide how you will display the barcodes on your product. The most common way is simply by attaching it to the packaging, but you can also use labels or even engrave your numbers onto the item itself. This may be more difficult and expensive, but some products are worth it. For example, platinum has a “traceable” quality that will enhance the value of any U.P.C. number engraved onto its surface.
Laser Engraving can be done in different ways:
- Offsetting Engraving: Laser-engraved numbers are stamped into the product’s surface by metal dies that create recessed characters.
- Deep Engraving: In this process, the laser removes material from the product surface, leaving a recessed number.
- Surface Engraving: The laser pierces the surface of the product and forms raised numbers.
There are also thermal transfer printers that can be used to print barcodes directly on products or packaging.
Obtain a Barcode Symbol For Each Item
You can get this symbol from a variety of sources, including the Internet and commercial printing companies. The symbol should already be attached to a label. If you are having the symbols printed yourself, you will need to buy your own printers and other supplies as well as prepare computer files with the numbers.
Many companies specialize in printing barcodes using thermal or laser technology, so check those sources first before investing in expensive printers that can only print a few symbols. The symbol will usually be in the form of a square with rounded corners and should be about 1.5 inches wide and the same height. You may be able to pay for a custom-made version if you prefer.
Scan Products and Always Use Your Company Prefix
Once you have your barcode numbers and symbols in place, you can start scanning your products. You can use a hand-held scanner or install one in your place of business. This will make it easy to keep track of your inventory and to check prices on the U.P.C. database of products that are sold in your area of business.
Make sure that when you use your barcode, it will include your company prefix or otherwise represent only items with which you are involved. Never use another company’s code to refer to your numbers. If you want to include the price of your items in the barcode number, use a U.P.C. extension that was designed for this purpose.
Check with Your Suppliers
You should always check with your product suppliers before applying for U.P.C. numbers or barcode symbols because some companies don’t allow them on products that they provide. This is because barcodes can be used to track inventory, and some companies prefer to keep this information confidential. Be aware that this is not always the case, however, and that some suppliers may be happy to have you use barcodes on their products.
This article has provided some helpful information about finding and using certified barcodes to improve business practices and help people find out more about what they are paying for at retail locations. Always do research to find the best option for your specific needs and be sure to follow the licensing guidelines to avoid any legal issues.