UPC bar codes originated in the USA from an organisation called the Universal Code Council (UCC).

UPC is an abbreviation for Universal Product Code.

UPC bar codes were originally developed for use with groceries, but are now widely used across many industries.

To get a bar code for a product, a manufacturer pays an annual fee to the bar code organisation in their country (Australian Barcodes in Australia, UCC in the USA). It is then issued a manufacturers identification number (e.g. 6 digits in the USA).

Bar codes have two parts:

- A series of numbers across the bottom (12 in the USA, 13 in Australia), that includes the manufacturers code; and is able to be read and identified by a person, without the use of any bar code reading machine.

- A series of lines of varying thickness above the numbers, which can be read by a bar code reading machine.

How Bar Codes Can Be Used to Record Changes to Inventory

Bar codes can be scanned whenever sales are made or new stock is received; and by doing so, computer records can be automatically increased or decreased, to maintain an up to date record of stock at hand and stock movements within a business

Financial Information From Bar Codes

Many medium to large organisation utilise the bar code system to organise information about products including pricing details. This can then allow easy management of information about individual products, irrespective of the complexity of the organisation or product range.