Since its 1974 debut on a pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum at a Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio, the Universal Product Code has been a touchpoint of many technological advances for retail and other industries. It streamlined logistics, greatly increased the speed and accuracy of the checkout process, became a key identifier in inventory management, and lately a means by which customers could look up information about products on their mobile devices and in-store kiosks.
"The barcode did a great job, but it is now time for succession," said Kees Jacobs, Capgemini consultant for consumer products and retail. "The current barcode is not sufficient to be the carrier of much more granular information that is needed." But now with both shopper and retailer demand for product information growing at a rapid pace, the old barcode is no longer up to the job, a Reuters report says. While there are significant costs to retailers and manufacturers to change packaging and point of sale systems, it will also bring the benefit of more and better data to help them manage supply chains and store inventories.
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