Helpful tips on Bar codes

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Helpful tips on Bar codes

7 things that you need to know about Bar codes

When deciding to register bar codes for your products and to start approaching retail stores to stock and sell your products you may have many questions and be uncertain on how they work and their purpose. Therefore, we have written this brief article to try and answer some questions you may have. The team at are committed to assisting their customers to register bar codes as easily and cost effectively as possible. If any of your questions are perhaps not covered below, please feel free to contact us via email or phone. No question is a silly question.

Why are bar codes made up of so many lines?

The reason for this is that the vertical black lines or bars are a font that converts into number. These numbers are the ones that you can see at the bottom of the codes.  If the image is scratched or damaged in any way, the retailer can simply enter these numbers in manually at the point of sale in order to bring the item and price up on the system.

How do scanners work?

The way a scanner works is that it selects the black and white sections which flow according to a particular algorithm which is then translated into a corresponding human readable text by the scanner using the spaces between the bars. The Scanner then sends this information over to the computer. The text will appear wherever the curser is on the screen at that moment. 

Where did they start? Who created them?

They arose from the increasing need to create a system to control retail operations in a more effective manner. As retailers expanded so did their operations and more control and efficiency were required to maximise profit and keep up with the times. The two people who created modern register bar codes were Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver. This happened in 1952. In 1959, David Collins built on their work and advanced barcoding technology even further. Throughout the years, they have been improved and transformed into what they are today.  The first UPC format was scanned in June 1974 at the Marsh Supermarket, Ohio. It was a packet of Wrigley’s Chewing gum that was bought by Clyde Dawson. You can actually view the receipt which is on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington.

What are the best dimensions to use?

The regular UPC/EAN image in South African is 37.3mm (w) by 25.9mm (H). They only recommend going as little as 80% of this standard size (30mm wide).  The largest size that they recommend going is 200% of the standard size (74.6 mm wide).  Height is less important than width. This is because it is necessary for the scanners to be able to easily distinguish between the vertical bars. And printing should be done using a printer used for bar codes and labels

Can I print in anything other than black and white?

This is possible. However, it is important to allow for a large degree of contrast between the lines and background. It can become quite tricky when printing in colour as the scanners tend to be very sensitive pieces of equipment. In order for a scanner to pick up, decipher and scan there needs to be a high contrast between the two colours used for the bars and the background of the image. There are a few articles that can be used as reference for the colours that work such as: GS1 Colour Register Bar codes

What are the advantages of using bar codes?

There are many different advantages.  Firstly, they remove the possibility of human error.  It is extremely easy for an assistant to make a mistake if they have to manually enter the product information.  Using the scanner is speedy and very reliable, thereby saving time and increasing efficiency.

They have transformed the point of sale systems into smooth running machines, cutting down on queuing time and increasing customer satisfaction at the fast and efficient service provided. The use cuts down on staff training as it is not difficult to master the handheld scanner. They also provide a wide variety of up to date information regarding the business and the market in which the business is operating in.  This information increases the retailer’s ability to respond to market demand and to stay at the top of the game.

Codes have become one of the most useful tools in tracking products as they move through the retail process. Inventory control has been revolutionised.  It is now an effortless and simple process, which decreases inventory losses and maximises profit.

As well as if you place bar codes on your products before approaching retail stores it presents your products as more professional and appealing to the retailers. As we all know a product will not be able to be placed into stores until it has GS1 registered codes on it.

There are quite a few companies selling them.  Which one is the best and the most trustworthy?

That is an easy question.  As South Africa’s best legal reseller, Buy Barcodes South Africa are the market leaders in the vast field.  We are a proudly South African company that prides itself in excellent customer service.  Only they will deliver your pack via email within 24 hours of purchase.  On top of this, you will not find cheaper anywhere in the world.  Top notch service coupled with affordable value for money makes they are best company to work with.  Please feel free to visit their website for any further information you need in order to make the right decision.  You can also contact us for printing of stickers and printing advice. We can print for you and courier throughout South Africa.