Bar coding is the latest technology sweeping
the Indian industry. It is used to capture and track data.
There is a growing need to gather information in a more
accurate and timely manner throughout every process/application.
This information has to be tracked accurately once it is gathered.
Automated Data Collection Technology is used to
enter information into a business computer system. Here machine
readable bar code symbols are used to increase the speed
and accuracy of collected data. Bar Codes are graphical representations
of information encoded within a defined pattern of alternate-width
dark bars and white (blank) spaces representing numbers or characters.
The first three digits in the bar code are the country codes.
eg. 890 for India. The next four digits are allotted to each
manufacturer. The next five digits are the product code. It
allows for 1,00,000 different products to have separate codes
from 00000 to 99999. The last digit is the check digit which
is calculated by using the previous 12 digits.
The lines within a bar code are called "bars".
The spaces and the area around the bars, which are usually white
or a light color, are known as "quiet zones".
Each bar code is unique. This unique arrangement of the bars
and spaces is referred to as a "bar code symbology"
or "bar code format". Since bar codes are designed
to suit specific business applications, they vary in size, shape
and data content.
The components of a bar code
Country Code: Each country is identified by a
specific country code. For e.g.: India's country code is 890 Check Digit: This is the checksum, or error checking
digit that is automatically calculated from the previous 12
digits. Manufacturer Number: These characters represent
the manufacturer's code, which is assigned to each manufacturer
by EAN India. Product Code: These characters encode the item's
unique identification number. Center Guard Bars: These two longer bars divide
the two halves of the code.
Initially, the use of bar code technology was confined to traditional
manufacturing and distribution businesses. Now, with the advent
of the personal computer and the introduction of point-of-sale
(POS) terminals at local supermarkets, the use of bar codes
has become increasingly popular.
Some Bar coding Applications:
In manufacturing units, to track work in progress and
provide real time production information.
In retail stores, the use of item inventory number in
bar code form allows for quick inventory via a portable
To track documents. Bar code labels are affixed to each
case folder. This permits a folder's movement to be tracked,
making it easy to accurately identify the present location
of all active files.
To validate security routes. Specific check points are
labeled with bar code tags. The security guard carries a
compact portable bar code reader and at each check point,
the location tag is scanned and the date/time automatically
Library cards use bar coded ID cards for fast, accurate
Many rental companies issue bar coded cards to their regular
customers for the same reason.
Hospital patients have bar coded wrist tags.
Now they are being used to tag birds and insects for research
In direct mail marketing, mailers are often sent out with
bar coded information which can include the date of the
mailing, the source of the mailing list used, which of several
test pieces was sent, etc.