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Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Jan 29, 2021


What is meant by barcode?

A barcode refers to an image containing a series of parallel black and white lines which, when scanned, give information about a product. Optical devices read the barcodes, such as barcode reader or scanner.

A barcode is used for automating the transfer of product information. It ranges from the price of the product to the quantity of purchase. The differentiating factor of two different barcodes is the lines separated by white spaces. The word can also be termed as "bar code."

Use of barcode

Barcodes provide retailers with an easy way to track inventory linked to a database. It help companies track trends in consumer habits, order more inventory and adjust prices.

If managed well, they can help lessen the cash conversion cycle by reducing inventory and thus, lowering the day's inventory. Barcodes are found on most of the products bought at the store.

Universal Product Code (UPC) is the most commonly used form of a barcode. First introduced in the 1970s, barcodes were put in use in grocery stores. They assist stores in tracking inventory conveniently if linked to a database and also help companies track trends in consumer habits, and control inventory and prices.

Barcodes are also used in other applications such as the healthcare industry to identify patients and patient records. They can help distribute important information like medical and prescription drug histories, allergies, and other patient data. It is further used in the postal service, travel and tourism (rental cars, luggage for airlines), entertainment (movie and theatre tickets, amusement parks), and sports events.

Different kinds of technology can read barcodes. Scanners are uniquely programmed for transferring the data stored by the barcode to the application program for reading the available information.

A computer-connected interface scanner to a computer sends the barcode's information as if it was typed on a keyboard. The new technology helps consumers to scan barcodes with their smartphones and tablets.

Prevalence of barcode in India

Barcodes play a crucial role in supply chains, empowering retailers, manufacturers, and transport providers to easily identify and track products as they flow through the supply chain.

GS1 is a not-for-profit organisation set up by every country. In India, GS1 India was set up in the year 1996 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India along with Commerce and Industry. Affiliated to the GS1 Global, GS1 India controls and allocates GS1 barcodes in India.

GS1 Global is an international entity that manages and standardises bar codes across India. GS1 lays down standards and manages the barcode standard employed by retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers. The organisation controls the barcode issuance to be scanned anywhere in the world.

AGS1 system of standards is used worldwide by approximately two million companies. It covers more than 20 industries such as food, healthcare, transport & logistics (including customs), retail & consumer packaged goods, government, and more.

In India, the barcode can be obtained by submitting an application together with prescribed documents. The application will pertain to the allocation of GS1 company prefix has been used for barcoding of products. It will be accepted along with a requisite fee to GS1 India.

The pricing for barcode registration in India differs based on certain parameters. The parameters include the number of barcodes, the annual turnover of the company and the number of years of barcode subscription. The registration fee, subscription fee, and security deposit are charged based on certain parameters.

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