An EAN barcode, also known as the European Article Number barcode, is a standardised barcode system used worldwide for identifying products in the retail industry. It is a unique 13-digit code that provides information about the product, such as its manufacturer and item number.
How does an EAN barcode work?
An EAN barcode consists of a series of black and white bars with varying widths. These bars represent the digits of the barcode. The barcode scanner reads the widths of the bars to decode the information stored in the barcode.
The first three digits of the EAN barcode represent the country code, which identifies the country or region where the barcode was issued. The following digits represent the manufacturer code, which identifies the specific company that produced the product. The remaining digits represent the item number, which identifies the specific product within the manufacturer's inventory.
Why are EAN barcodes important?
EAN barcodes play a crucial role in the retail industry. They enable efficient inventory management, accurate pricing, and faster checkout processes. By scanning the barcode, retailers can quickly retrieve product information from their database, including pricing, stock levels, and product details.
EAN barcodes also facilitate supply chain management. Manufacturers can track their products from production to distribution, ensuring accurate stock levels and preventing counterfeiting. Additionally, EAN barcodes enable retailers to automate the reordering process, ensuring that popular products are always in stock.
How are EAN barcodes obtained?
Companies that wish to use EAN barcodes label for their products must obtain a unique identification number from GS1, a global organisation that manages barcode standards. GS1 assigns a unique company prefix to each manufacturer, which is then combined with the item number chosen by the manufacturer to create a unique EAN barcode for each product.
It is important for companies to ensure the accuracy of their EAN barcodes to avoid any issues with product identification and inventory management. Incorrect or duplicate barcodes can lead to confusion and errors in the supply chain.
EAN barcodes are a vital tool in the retail industry, providing a standardised method for product identification and inventory management by retailers and factories being allowed to have their own custom barcode labels. By using EAN barcodes, retailers can streamline their operations, improve efficiency, and enhance the overall customer experience. Whether you're a manufacturer or a retailer, understanding the importance and functionality of EAN barcodes is essential for successful business operations.