What is a barcode for?

The first barcode was introduced in 1973 and entailed a major advance in product identification.

What is a barcode?

Barcodes are graphic representations of numeric and alphanumeric data, such as GTIN and GLN codes.

Enterprises around the world use them to unequivocally and automatically identify products, packages, pallets and locations.

When scanned they transmit information on the product with which they are associated. They are very versatile symbols, able to contain any type of information needed.

They play an important role in the supply chain of any industry as they make it possible for all stakeholders to identify and track the movements of each product.

The first barcode was introduced in 1973 and entailed a major advance in product identification.

Types of barcodes

1. If a product is identified with a GTIN-13 code, the barcode will be EAN-13.

2. If the item is identified with a GTIN-14 code, the symbol will be ITF-14.

3. If logistics facilities are involved, the barcode used will be GS1-128. In this case, it is a code that identifies shipping units and can't be read at the retail point of sale. It makes it possible to add characteristics and relevant information to products and groups of products. It is used in warehouse environments to ensure correct goods traceability and monitoring.

Advantages of using barcodes

  • Instant data acquisition

  • Prevents errors in manual data uploads

  • Prevents falsifications

  • Consumer safety

  • Communications efficiency and process optimisation

  • Correct information classification

  • Control over merchandise delivery and reception

  • Inventory and stock control

Key uses of barcodes

  1. Health

    Unique patient identifier.

    Inventory management. Medical device identification and traceability.

    Two-way tracking: devices assigned to patients and who assigned them.

    Patient results info and prescribed medication in laboratories and pharmacies.

  2. Retail

    Information on item prices and features.

    Stock and inventory control at retail point of sale, improving end-customer delivery times.

    Traceability of each item from source country through to transport and destination.

    Increase in operational efficiency in purchase orders and goods transportation.