What is the Purpose of the Universal Product Code on the Label?


Universal Product Code (UPC) is the specialized code that can help consumers and manufacturers identify a particular product.

It is a part of the retail packaging process. One of the interesting things about this code is that every product line has a special UPC. Irrespective of the product origin, the UPC assigned to the product is unique.

Part of UPC:

There are two more parts of the Universal Product Code (UPC). The first part is machine-readable and consists of bars.

The other part consists of 12 digits. These digits are present underneath the bar.

What type of information does the UPC provide?

UPC is capable of providing information in multiple dimensions. It helps you identify the brand name, size, & color of the product and facilitates the checkout process. The main reason this code exists is to bring ease at the point of sales or checking out.

While scanning this code, the machine can identify the product just as it was a human seeing the product. So, fetching the right price of the product and removing it from the stocks in the case of the departmental stores become a lot easier with the presence of UPC Codes.

Dissecting a UPC:

As discussed earlier, there are two main parts of a UPC, i.e., line and the numbers. The numbers are not random; instead, they can reveal a lot of information about the product. Let’s see how you read the UPC:

1st six digits:

The first 6 digits of the 12-digit UPC indicate the manufacturer’s information. GS1 assigns a specific number to every member who registers their product with the organization.

If there are two or more products from the same manufacturer, you’ll find the initial part of UPC code similar.

Next five digits:

The next five digits from this code are the item number. Most of the products have variations, so this number highlights every product the company produces, including variations. Even the size variations are catered within these digits, and you can find a different number for each of the available options.

Last digit:

The last digit does not attribute to the manufacturer or the product. It is known as the check digit. It is a result of certain calculations (multiplication and additions) performed on the digits within the code to see if the code is error-free.

If this digit does not comply with the performed calculation, the code will be invalid and will not be processed further.

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