Step 1: Apply for a GS1 Company Prefix. The first six to nine digits of your barcode are your company prefix.
Step 2: assign a unique product number.
Step 3: determine how your product will display barcode.
Step 4: order your barcodes.
Step 5: place barcodes.
The cost to buy UPC codes
Number items needing a barcode 1-10 1-100 1-1,000
Barcode graphics GS1 UPC barcode services fee $150 $250 $2,000
Barcode graphics annual renewal fee $100 $150 $230
Universal Product Code (UPC) is a 12 digit bar code used extensively for retail packaging in United States. The international standard book number (ISBN) is a unique commercial book identifier barcode. Each ISBN code identifies uniquely a book. ISBN has either 10 or 13 digits.
A typical process of obtaining a 12 digit UPC number is as follows:
- License a unique company prefix from your local GS1 office
- Assign product number to unique products making your number equal 11 digits.
- Using a check digit calculator with your 11 digit number, generate your check digit.
The manufacturer identification number is the first six digits of the UPC number 639382. The next five digits 00039 are the item number. The last digit of the UPC code is called a check digit. This digit lets the scanner determine if it scanned the number correctly or not. UPC barcodes were originally created to help grocery stores speed up the checkout process and keep better track of inventory, but the system quickly spread to all other retail products because it was so successful. UPCs originate with a company called the Uniform Code Council (UCC). A manufacturer applies to the UCC for permission to enter the UPC system. The manufacturer pays an annual fee for the privilege. In return, the UCC issues the manufacturer a six digit manufacture identification number and provides guidelines on how to use it. You can see the manufacturer identification number in any standard 12 digit UPC code. The UPC symbol has two parts:
- The machine readable bar code
- The human readable 12 digit UPC number
A person employed by the manufacturer, called the UPC coordinator, is responsible for assigning item numbers to products, making sure the same code is not used on more than one product, retiring codes as products are removed from the product line, etc. In general every item the manufacturer sells as well as every size package and every repacking of the item, needs a different item code. So a 12 ounce can of Coke needs a different item number than a 16 ounce bottle of Coke, as does the 6 pack of 12 ounce cans, a 12 pack, a 24 can case and so on. It is the job of the UPC coordinator to keep all of these numbers straight! The last digit of the UPC lets the scanner each time performs the calculation to differentiate the check digit it reads.
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