What is the Universal Product Code (UPC)?
A UPC, short for a universal product code, is a type of code printed on retail product packaging to assist in identifying a special item. It consists of two parts – the machine-readable barcode, which is a series of unique black bars, and the single 12-digit number below it.
The purpose of UPCs is to make it easy to recognize product features, such as the brand name, item, size, and color, when an item is scanned at checkout. That’s why they were created in the first place – to speed up the checkout process at market stores. UPCs are also helpful in the following inventory within a store or shed.
Parts of a UPC
After paying a fee to join, GS1 assigns a 6-digit to the company identification number, which becomes the first six digits in the UPC on all the company’s products. That number recognizes the particular company of the item.
There are also five digits of the UPC, and they are called an item number. It refers to the actual product itself. Within each company is a person responsible for assigning item numbers, for assuring that the same name isn’t used more than once and that old numbers referring to discontinued products are phased out.
Many consumer products have numerous varieties, based on, for example, flavor, size, or color. Each type requires its item number. So a box of 24 one-inch earings has a separate item number than a box of 24 two-inch earings or a box of 50 one-inch earings.
Advantages of UPCs
UPCs have plenty of benefits to manufacturers and consumers. Because they make it possible for barcode scanners to identify a product and its associated price immediately, UPCs improve speed.
They improve efficiency and productivity by reducing the need to access product information manually.
They also make it possible to trace inventory much more carefully than hand counting, to know when more product is needed on retail shelves or in warehouses. Or when there is an issue with a specific product and consumers who bought it need to be alerted or a recall issued, UPCs allow products to be tracked through production to distribution to retail storehouses and even into customer homes.
Create a free account
Talk to your customers now.
No credit card required to start.