Do barcodes look and sound all Greek to you? Don’t worry! You aren’t the only one. What do the numbers on a barcode mean and how to analyze this indispensable part of today’s economy? It turns out that these small elements on the products we buy are a valuable source of information. How to read barcodes?

Barcode digits’ meaning. The most common types

There are different types of barcodes, but the most common are the following:

  • EAN-13 – used worldwide, it’s the standard barcode for products sold at retail in Europe and other countries. It’s made up of 13 digits. The first two or three (depending on the country) identify the country where the product is sold, the following five or six digits represent the manufacturer and the last four digits identify the product.
  • UPC-A – used in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. They’re very similar to the EAN-13, but use 12 digits. The first six digits identify the manufacturer and the last six digits identify the product.
  • EAN-8 – used mainly for small products, such as cigarettes, where space is limited. It’s made up of 8 digits and works in the same way as the EAN-13, but with a shortened code.

How to read barcodes?

Are you wondering how to read barcodes? The barcode is made up of black bars and white spaces between them. Each group of bars and spaces represents a character.

The following characters denote the manufacturer code and the product type, whereas the last character is used to check if the barcode is good.

When you scan a barcode, the scanner reads the bars and spaces and converts them into numbers. The numbers are sent to a computer database which tells you what the product is.

Why are barcodes important?

Barcodes are important because they allow retailers to scan products quickly and accurately at the point of sale. This means that companies can serve customers more quickly and efficiently.

Barcodes are also important in logistics and supply chain management. They can be used to track products as they move through the supply chain from manufacturers to retailers more accurately. This information can be used to improve efficiency and optimize stock levels.

Benefits of using barcodes

Barcodes offer many benefits, including:

  • Increased efficiency and accuracy – they can be scanned quickly and accurately, which can save time and reduce errors.
  • Reduced costs – with their help, companies can reduce the costs of inventory management and stock control.
  • Improved customer service – barcodes can be used to provide information about products and services to customers, which shortens the time needed to find necessary items and finalize transactions.
  • Better supply chain management – they can be used to track products as they move through the supply chain, from manufacturers to retailers. This information can improve efficiency and optimize stock levels.

The takeaway

Knowing what the numbers on a barcode mean will help you better understand the products you buy. It’s worth noting that such small elements like barcodes are an invaluable source of information about products and manufacturers.

Want to learn how QR codes work and how to use them in business? Check out our blog!