Hi JK, I would like to put in my 2 cents here 🙂
I do not agree with you that US is lagging behind everyone else in usage of UPC. it's just more strictly regulated here than in other places. which is not necessary a bad thing.
here (US) you can use any barcode format that suits your need, as long as it is only used with in your business infrastructure. however if you will be packaging your product for retail you MUST include a standard UPC-A/UPC-E or EAN barcode that have a registered information on it in standard format.
so, if you deal with specialty items a lot you will see a multitude of barcodes
on an item packaging, most of which you might not be able to process
but you always should be able to find a standard code in one of approved formats to identify the item universally. and that I think what this article was intended to help you with, as an entry point into dealing with UPC data.
and describes most used (at least in US) UPC formats
Also , keep in mind that UPC was invented to represent an identification to be used only as a visual ID representation that could be machine readable. It is simply a globally unique numeric ID that links the specific item to Country/Manufacturer/Item family.
Alone by itself it is meaningless.
and of course some new variation of the unique identification that is also a machine readable have been developed over the years.
And we need to use them accordingly as well.
So to response to your reference to other codes used now days , if you want to design future-proof system you need to ensure that
You can accept/process/store any data regardless of source.
On one of my past employment, I was designing an package of apps that used barcode info.
It was for a chain store enterprise that had a single warehouse location and multiple retail locations including mail order.
The package included a warehouse app/db that collected and process data
For local inventory (in warehouse supply product availability)
For mail order
For individual location orders and inventory.
Business logic dictated that each item :
1. can have multiple vendors (as in the same Manufacturer multiple suppliers/wholesalers) ? same UPC code/packaging
2. any vendor can have same item from different manufactures ? different UPCcode/packaging
3. can have item repackaged for private branding or item can be acquired as wholesale/OEM lot(no packaging) and packaged locally
4. must be able to assign a custom Barcode to any item using internal barcode printers/labels regardless of above conditions
But all of it must be able to track back to a specific item/price/inventory location.
As far as I know the application is still in use after 10 years now. No problems
The custom barcodes were not UPC-A/UPC-E type
But printers and scanners could read them
You could enter code by hand/barcode scanner
You can link barcode or multiple codes to a single item.
Any item that was available from multiple vendors was assigned custom barcode to indicate what vendor it was from
Or a default cost/price was linked to UPC.
Each location POS system would export daily inventory data into Access/TXT files and transmit it to main office.
main office module would import all data in to central DB and generate reorder tickets as needed