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UPC Barcode

UPC is an acronym for “Universal Product Code,” which is symbology consisting of a number of bars of various widths. It is widely used in the U.S. and Canada for tracking trade items in retail stores. Almost all packaged items, from CDs to power tools, have a UPC barcode printed somewhere, that barcode can be scanned at checkout to quickly and accurately establish the correct pricing and to keep track of items in inventory. UPCs originate with a company called the Universal Code Council or UCC. A manufacturer applies to the UCC for permission to enter the system and pays an annual fee for this. In return, the UCC issues a 6-digit manufacturer identification number and also provides specific guidelines on how this is to be used. Each UPC symbol has two parts: the machine-scanable barcode and a human-readable 12-digit UPC number. The company’s manufacturer identification number is represented by the first six numbers, while the next five numbers are the item number. The final number is called a check digit, and this helps the scanner determine if the scanned number is correct. A person employed by the manufacturer, usually called the UPC coordinator, assigns the actual item number to each product, making sure it is unique and retiring codes if products are discontinued.

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