Thursday, April 04, 2013

GS1 Celebrates 40 Years of Barcode Technology

by Nate Schubert

GS1 US celebrated it's 40th year yesterday. This is a major milestone for the organization which has since expanded to have offices in over 100 nations across the world. Despite this tremendous achievement, many people know very little about GS1 other than the fact that they must register UPC codes with them in order to offer products in most retail point of sale locations. So, in an effort to celebrate the many qualities and achievements of GS1, we will provide a bit of useful information about the organization.

What is GS1 Anyway?

In 1973, industry leaders consolidated their efforts to create a unified standard that would allow for the easy identification of products, regardless of regional location. This was first used in grocery stores to improve efficiency at checkout, and quickly spread to other retail POS areas. As barcode technology became more widely used, the GS1 organization used it to further streamline processes throughout POS and now other industries for improved consumer confidence and inventory control.

Which Barcode Types Does GS1 Support?

GS1 supports many barcode types for retail items such as make up and cosmetics, cigarettes, gum, magazines, pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products and much more. As GS1 drives efficiency in the marketplace, more and more barcode standards are being created. GS1 also supports some 2D barcode standards such as GS1 Data Matrix for surgical instruments and GS1 QR Code for marketing materials.

What started as a simple means of speeding up grocery store check-out has evolved into over 5 Billion GS1 barcodes scanned each and every day. Today, GS1 is driving efficiency in many key areas of business such as logistics, inventory control and supply chain. It's standards have worked to give consumers more information about the freshness and origination of products like food produce, and has also given managers greater control over their own flow of inventory. It will be interesting to see what GS1 is doing 40 years from now!

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