Barcodes – what are they and who assign them?

The bar code is a graphic notation of characters in the form of a combination of light and dark elements, stripes and dashes that enable automatic reading of information about the product. This reading is done using a scanning technique.

To understand what are the barcodes and how they are used, it is necessary to refer to its beginning. The first barcodes were introduced in the USA and Canada in 1973. They are called UPC (Universal Product Code), and their implementation was dealt with by the organization UCC (Uniform Code Council). This is where the development of supermarkets, which aimed at mass customer service, contributed to the start of work on the development of barcodes.

Barcodes allow, above all, transparent goods records


The EAN (European Article Number) code is based on the above-mentioned UPC code. It was introduced in 1977 by the organization EAN International created after the success of the UPC system. The task of EAN International was creating a compatible system that could be used outside of North America

The EAN code is used to mark goods in wholesale and retail, so also in Dropshipping (coded by the brand owner) and comes in two versions:

  1. Code EAN-13. Contains 13 digits: No. of the country (first 3 digits), the number of manufacturer and distributor (then 4-7 digits), the number of the product (then 2-5 digits), the control digit (the last digit). What’s interesting the EAN-13 code scanning sound is heard 6 billion times a day.
  2. The EAN-8 code contains 8 digits: the number of the code, the number of the product and the control digit. EAN-8 codes are usually placed on small packages.

In February 2005 global organization GS1 was established, which took over the duties of the two above-mentioned above-mentioned entities. – UCC i EAN International. It watches over the uniqueness of the codes and their correctness. Its branches can already be found in 111 countries, including Poland – in Poznan. It is through GS1 Polska that you can get unique barcodes for your products, which are mandatory for most online and traditional sellers, including Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Google, Carrefour, Tesco.


a) Allowing transparent inventory of goods.

If it is necessary to enter a series of digits into a computer or cash register, this action takes the employee a lot of time, and there is also the risk of errors occurring during the data entry process. According to statistics, one in 300 hits on the keyboard is incorrect. Replacing the keyboard with a barcode reader will increase work efficiency and reduce the likelihood of an error almost to zero.

b) Allowing easy identification of each product.

c) Efficient exchange of information between supply chain partners. Allowing you to quickly determine which products were delivered and whether there were any delivery discrepancies.

d) Fast and precise location of pallets and packages in warehouses.

e) Speeding up loading and unloading of delivery vehicles.

f) The possibility to better organize the commercial space.

The EAN code is used to mark goods in wholesale and retail


The trademark owner has the right to code products.

If the owner of the brand is a producer, then he/she assigns numbers from his/her own pool. If the owner of the brand is commissioning production to another company, it has two options: it assigns numbers from his/her own pool or authorizes the manufacturer to assign numbers on the commissioned production from the manufacturer’s number pool.

Do you have more questions regarding EAN codes?

Write to us, and the expert will answer your questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *