The Product Barcode
The use of barcodes on products came in to existence due to two key factors. The creation of computers and the demand on major retailers to find a solution to the ever-growing drain of time and expense caused by large line ups. The movement of establishing a common product code occured in America in the 1950s.
In 1967, The Kroger Company, a major large scale chain retailer in the U.S., developed the barcode-oriented entry system and subsequently attached a barcode to each product and enter the product data automatically into computer.
The Introduction of UPC and EAN
In order to spread the barcode all over the United States, a nationally-standardized rule had to be created in order to assign a number to each product. In 1973, with the help of the American Food Chain Association, the Universal Product Code (UPC) was created.
Europe later established the European Article Number (EAN) in 1977, the common product code of European countries.The member countries of EAN are listed in “flag” page.
Going together with the improvement of functionality of the computer, spread of the common product code resulted to the introduction of the so-called POS, not only for sales management at the register, but for inventory control, stock management, sales prediction, etc.; and it has grown into an indispensable for management of large shops.
Relation of Common Product Code and the Barcode
Common Product Codes, such as UPC and EAN, are a form of barcodes. Of course, barcodes are not always used to represent products and as such can come in many different forms and using many different barcode standards.
It is also worth noting that a product code often refers to the actual digits used to represent a product while it's symbolrepresentation is the barcode itself.