Universal Product Code

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Universal Product Code:

see barcodebarcode,
computer coding system that uses a printed pattern of lines and bars to identify such things as products, mail and packages, and customer accounts; the term also is used for similar coding systems that do not use bar-based patterns.
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universal product code

[¦yü·nə¦vər·səl ′präd·əkt ‚kōd]
(computer science)
A 10-digit bar code on the outside of a package for electronic scanning at supermarket checkout counters; each digit is represented by the ratio of the widths of adjacent stripes and white areas.
The corresponding combinations of binary digits into which the scanned bars are converted for computer processing that provides continuously updated inventory data and printout of the register tape at the checkout counter.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(Universal Product Code) The standard barcode printed on retail merchandise. The UPC is read by scanning the barcode at checkout counters in supermarkets and retail stores. Handheld UPC scanners are used to inventory merchandise stocked on shelves.

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)
The UPC falls under the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) identification system, which is administered by the GS1 organization (see GS1). The common 12-digit UPC-A code includes a vendor number assigned by GS1 along with the vendor's product number and a check digit. GTIN categories include numeric barcodes with 8, 12, 13 and 14 digits and also support alphanumeric (ASCII) characters.

Unlike the EPC code in an RFID system, the UPC does not include a unique serial number and cannot be used for individual item tracking. See EPC and RFID.

UPC scanning systems were introduced in the early 1970s. In the mid-1980s, UPCs were added to shipping containers, and mandates from retailers such as Walmart and K-Mart caused them to be widely adopted. See barcode and barcode scanner.

UPC Codes Everywhere
One can hardly find a retail package without the numeric UPC barcode label.

UPC Examples
UPC barcodes are ubiquitous and mandatory on nearly every saleable item. For small packages, the compressed six-digit UPC-E code is equivalent to the 12-digit UPC-A. (Images courtesy of GS1 US, www.gs1us.org)
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References in periodicals archive ?
Once those issues are resolved, it will take years to test and implement systems and then run them in tandem with the current UPC bar codes.
In sequence of operation, a Scanstar[TM] 80 barcode scanner (also from Computer Identics) reads the preprinted UPC bar code, identifying the product within.
The printers provided consistently clear variable data such as date, lot code, product code and UPC bar code on up to 30 boxes per minute, translating to 12,000 boxes per eight-hour shift and 60,000 boxes per week.
The Uniform Code Council (UCC), the not-for-profit business standards organization and Marsh Supermarkets celebrated the 30th anniversary of the UPC bar code June 25 at the same Marsh location where the first live scan was made.
Suggested key practice - Improve efficiencies of non-DEX transactions in an automated receiving environment by such activities as: developing a unit UPC bar code that can be scanned in lieu of scanning items that are difficult to handle; print inner-pack UPC bar codes on the case pack; combine invoices to reduce the total number of invoices processed; and begin using DEX.
"But we realized that we needed to learn about a lot more than the UPC bar code symbol on wine bottles if we wanted to be able to offer the kind of service that makes a company competitive in this industry."
Kroger's year-long store test of a 'bulls-eye' symbol proved that scanning was practical, but the UPC bar code provided much-needed information in addition to scanning.
Before going on line, the company first had to set up an interface and depository file for the UPC catalog, which is a third party service that decodes the UPC bar code for both suppliers and retailers.