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Retail is in a perilous business. Stores need to stock thousands, if not millions of inventory items spanning a wide range of brands and products. Keeping track of it all and maintaining just the right amount of inventory is a monumental task. Yet, in today's modern world, the need to satisfy customer needs and wants is greater than ever before.

You might be wondering how achieving this task can be possible without opening every bag and parcel in order to find out how much stock to order. The answer lies in barcode and scanning technology.

In order to understand how barcodes work, you need to look back into its history. The development of the barcode did not come easy. Long before 1948, when Bernard Silver and Normal Joseph Woodland built the first barcode prototype, punch cards were already being used to keep track of inventory. However, this system was not as cheap and efficient as many would have liked.

Woodland developed the bulls-eye code, which enabled it to be scanned from every direction. He and Silver eventually decided to build the barcode reader. It had to be wrapped in black to keep out the ambient lights. But it was only in the 1970s that the potential of the barcode technology was fully recognized.

Today, barcodes are used in supermarkets across the globe. There are several kinds of barcodes including those used for shipping and transportation services. UPC barcodes are used in most retail establishments during the checkout process. This technology has a lot of advantages because it has all stock code information that enables the scanner to read the price and it can help the establishment keep track of its inventory.

UPC actually originates from UCC or Uniform Code Council. A product manufacturer needs to apply with UCC in order to use the UPC system. Manufacturers pay an annual fee to enjoy the privilege. In return, UCC creates a six-digit manufacturer identification code and provides instructions on how this should be used. In any standard 12-digit UPC code, you will notice that the manufacturer's code is included on it.

Barcodes distinguish one product from another. Once this code is scanned at the checkout counter, the product's price will instantly be revealed making the transaction easier, faster, and more accurate. In addition, the information is instantly stored in the inventory system so retail establishment can conduct an accurate inventory check to determine whether theft occurred or not.

It also makes the ordering, reordering process between the manufacturer and retailer more streamlined, and more channels are opened to enable better communication between the two parties. The buyers are sellers will also inevitably benefit from the barcode technology. Today's modern environment would not be as efficient as it is without the help of barcodes.

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