By now we all have become familiar with those stacks of black lines that are on everything we buy.
They are most useful for managing, inventory, data exchange, logistics and pricing which allow companies to be more efficient. These little stickers are packed with information and if done correctly provide a wealth of information to be used all along the distribution chain.
Trying to understand how they work is another story. Contained in those clever lines and numbers is data that can reveal a lot of a little about what’s inside the box, who the manufacture is, the number of units inside, the price, and other information that would help identify where the box came from and where it is going.
If you look at a typical box of flowers in your cooler you will often find many bar codes which can be confusing to the workers trying to find the right one to scan. Growers put them on for inventory control, the airlines or Freight forwarders will often add another and then the importer will add another and the trucking company will require yet another one. Each one is updating the previous one as new information has been created. In our fast moving business one of the most obvious places those bar codes appear is on bouquets as UPC codes. However, if they wrong bar coded is applied to the bouquet it normally involves a company wide effort to remove and replace the UPC with a correct one. There are even third party companies that have sprung up to provide this service.
Now we have QR codes (quick response codes) which allow anyone with a scanner (your smart phone) to quickly scan a coed and learn more about the product. More and more data will be presented this way and who knows what will happen next in this crazy world of technology.
However, most of you reading this will say, I already knew all of this since bar codes have been around a long time already. So my reason for writing this article is because these sticky black and white images are a bitch to remove. Since they are on nearly every item we purchase they like still on many of those same items. Unless you are diligent about removing them and keep some GOO OFF in your kitchen they are likely still on your wineglasses and dishes in some faded fashion.
I built an outdoor deck the other day and when I was finished I looked at the result and all I could see staring back at me were the bar coded labels stapled to the end of each board.
We are literally stuck with these data indicators and I cannot see the future well enough to know what the next generation of these will be. In the meantime keep lots of goo off or WD 40 handy.