What is a Barcode?

You’ve all seen them, but do you really know what a barcode is? Barcodes are simply a way of encoding data by using a combination of bars and spaces varying in width. Barcodes increase efficiency and reduce errors because they replace key-data entry by gathering data from the barcode as it is scanned. Barcodes are also encoded with a reference number that a computer can look up and associate with important information such as description, price and department number. So when you go through a checkout line and they scan a candy bar, the computer automatically looks up the numbers encoded in the barcode. The computer then searches its database and recognizes that specific number from all of the other products that they sell. This is how an accurate description and price not only show up on the cashier screen, but also on your receipt.

Just imagine, before barcodes cashiers had to manually enter the stickered price on every item that you purchased. Not only does this make me wonder how long the lines were, but how many mistakes were made. And this is just one example of how barcodes can make your life easier on a daily basis, not only as a consumer, but also as an employee. Although there are many types of barcodes that have a variety of different uses, they all have several things in common, they are a fast, easy, and accurate way of collecting data that can increase productivity and improve the bottom line of your company.