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The Barcode: a forty-year legacy


Have you ever noticed that the barcode resides on the back front or literally anywhere on all products in the UK? As much as it goes unnoticed, the barcode has a deep impact on the NHS, retail landscapes, food industries and the economy as a whole. Tracing back, the first UK barcode scan took place on the 2nd of October,1979 at Keymarkets in Spalding, Lincolnshire. It will mark the 40th Anniversary of the UK barcode on 2nd October. An interesting fact about it is that there are 70,000 items being scanned by barcode at every second throughout the globe. The barcode has done wonders and transformed the industry in the UK. 

No one had thought that something as minimal as a barcode could tell where the farm wheat in the corn flakes came from. Whether it was organic or not and if the box it’s packed in is fully recyclable or not.  

The barcode and the Health service 

The barcode has done wonders for the NHS. It has saved thousands of lives as well as a projection of £1bn in seven years. The barcode’s ability to give a unique identity to everyone from a person to product and place. It has helped in enhancing patient safety, improve operational efficiencies, and reduce unwarranted clinical variation. 

Some insights into the barcodes services to the medical world

It has never been easier to identify whether a product is safe or not with the advent of the barcode. It has helped to manage health records as well as the identification of medications. Consequently, doctors’ jobs have become way easier, saving up precious time. All UK born babies can be identified through the application of an NHS number using GS1 standards.

The Barcode and the Food industry

Have you ever wondered what ingredients are there in the food items that you buy from the market? Probably yes but you never went on to find out because there is no easy way to do so. However, impressive technology is under development which will enable you to scan the products through the barcode and it will tell you what ingredients it contains. This can be really helpful as people with allergies can avoid eating food items that trigger their allergies. 

This is just one of the examples. There will be a lot of other important benefits. 

Another important thing that can be done is to track the whole journey of a product. Consequently, if there has been a contamination issue, it will be easier to figure out where it took place. Barcode can also play a major role in recycling schemes in the UK. customer can receive money back if they recycle plastic, aluminium and glass receptacles returned to reverse-vending machines, all tracked by barcode.

The Barcode and Retail landscape 

Almost every retailer makes use of the barcode to uniquely identify their products in the supply chains. Barcodes, furthermore have added to the success of digital marketplaces. For instance, Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping requires sellers to use barcodes on all their listings in order to authenticate products. 

The barcode continues to revolutionize the marketplace even after the forty-year legacy. The world is keen to see the wonders a minimal code can do in the coming years.

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