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Understanding Barcodes and EAN Codes

Your business is growing and managing warehouse in an automated way starts to be quite painful - not only for you but also for your B2B partners.


The unassuming barcode plays a pivotal role in streamlining operations, enhancing accuracy, and facilitating seamless transactions. 

But what exactly are barcodes, and what does an EAN code signify? In this blog post, we'll talk about the fundamentals of barcodes and demystify the significance of EAN codes in the world of commerce.

What is a Barcode?

At its core, a barcode is a visual representation of data in a machine-readable form. It consists of parallel lines of varying widths and spacings that encode information, allowing scanners to capture and interpret the data quickly. Barcodes are ubiquitous in the retail environment and serve as a universal language for products, enabling efficient tracking and management.

Types of Barcodes:

1D Barcodes:

  • These are the traditional barcodes, represented by vertical lines of varying thickness. They are commonly used for product identification and inventory management.

2D Barcodes:

  • More advanced than 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes can store more data, including alphanumeric characters and even entire websites. QR codes are a popular example of 2D barcodes.

The Anatomy of a Barcode:

  • Quiet Zone: The blank space before and after the barcode, allowing scanners to identify the beginning and end of the code.

  • Start and Stop Characters: Indicate the start and end of the barcode.

  • Data Characters: The actual encoded information, typically a product number or identifier.

  • Check Digit: A calculated digit used to verify the accuracy of the data read by the scanner.

EAN Code (European Article Number):

The EAN code is a specific type of barcode widely used for product identification and sales transactions. It is a standardized 13-digit code assigned to each unique product, allowing for global recognition and consistency in retail environments.

Decoding the EAN Code:

  • Prefix: The first two or three digits represent the country or region code where the manufacturer is registered.

  • Manufacturer Code: The following digits identify the manufacturer or company producing the product.

  • Product Code: This portion identifies the specific product within the manufacturer's range.

  • Check Digit: The last digit is a check digit calculated to ensure the accuracy of the entire EAN code.

Now, it’s important to say why having EAN is so important for your business. 

Retailers use EAN codes to track inventory, manage stock levels, and facilitate automated reordering processes.

Just think about multibrands stores receiving hundreds of orders to their warehouse every day. Fast order processing is crucial to make fast deliveries to final clients - which often has the biggest impact on the satisfaction of the purchase. 

As we witness the swift scans at checkout counters or the seamless tracking of packages, it's a testament to the power of these unassuming lines and digits.

Embracing the language of barcodes and understanding the significance of EAN codes is not just a technological necessity; it's a key to unlocking a world of operational efficiency and precision in the ever-evolving landscape of retail and logistics.

What about you? Do you already have all the EAN codes ready for your items?

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