What is UPC?

Universal Product Code (UPC) is an identification code affixed on packages of retail products like clothing, electronics, accessories, and other consumer goods. It helps to identify and track products easily.

The Global Standards Organization (GS1) sanctions UPCs. This code comprises two distinct parts – a unique barcode decipherable by machines followed by a 12-digit number underneath. 

Significance of UPC

UPC simplifies distinguishing a product from others via its unique identification code. This code demonstrates vital information such as

  • The kind of product
  • The features of the product, like its weight, size, price, color, and so on
  • Country codes
  • Manufacture details
  • Other product details

The barcode simplifies the identification process as machines can quickly document the product information by scanning it. The product information can also be entered manually with the help of the 12-digit number. UPC minimizes the scope of errors in manual data entry and eliminates the cumbersome task of decoding handwritten data.

Prerequisites of UPC

Getting a readable UPC is necessary to simplify the tracking process. Here are some requirements:

  • Printing technique

Application of proper printing techniques is mandatory as it affects the image quality of the unique code. Factors like bar width and ink spread must be taken into consideration depending on the packaging. It is ideal for maintaining the barcode within at least 80% of the general size.

  • Truncation

Truncation involves the reduction of the barcode height. A proper height-to-width ratio must be maintained to ensure scannability.

  • Positioning

The code must be easy to locate on the package. Most UPCs are positioned in the center for greater visibility.

Use Case with UPC

Suppose a retailer is selling t-shirts. They sell v-neck and round-neck t-shirts in red, blue, white, yellow, and black colors. Now, it is difficult for the seller to locate a v-neck yellow t-shirt amidst so many variants. Scanning the UPC prefixed on the package helps to distinguish and locate the product, as each product comes with a unique code.

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