The industrial use of barcodes can be traced back as far as the 1960s, in some cases as a means to identify railroad cars. Common linear barcodes started appearing on grocery shelves in the early 1970s as the UPC barcode to automate the process of identifying grocery items. Today, barcodes are just about everywhere and are used for identification in almost all fields of business. When barcode technology is utilized in business processes, procedures are automated to increase productivity and reduce human error. Bar-coding should be used whenever there is a need to accurately identify or track something.
- Fast-selling items can be identified quickly and automatically reordered.
- Slow-selling items can be identified, preventing inventory build-up.
- The effects of merchandising changes can be monitored, allowing fast- moving, more profitable items
- Historical data can be used to predict seasonal fluctuations very accurately.
- Items may be re priced on the shelf to reflect both sale prices and price increases.
- This technology also enables the profiling of individual consumers, typically through a voluntary registration of discount cards. While pitched as a benefit to the consumer, this practice is considered to be potentially dangerous by privacy advocates.
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