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A Brief Overview of The Barcode and How RFID Will Take Its Place

Last updated: March 2020.

Barcodes are the predecessor to RFID, however their role in uniquely identifying products has been just as important. To understand the additional benefits RFID presents, the use of barcodes has been explored in this blog. Mauyumba et al (2017) and Ling et al (2020) explain how barcodes work and how they differ to RFID, explaining that barcodes are machine readable printed symbols that contain numerical data in relation to the product it is printed on, information such as product type, product unique ID and expiration. Sharma et al (2013) explains a brief history of the barcode, stating that as soon as it was established in commercial use it became an industry standard. This required a database to grant each individual product its own unique ID in order to avoid multiple use of the same ID which would render it not unique. The Uniform Code Council (UCC) developed the standard which is known as the Universal Product Code (UPC). These qualities are still used on RFID, the difference however is down to operation and capture of this data. Barcodes require a user to manually scan each item at designated and limited data points, where RFID does not. barcodes are used in assisting warehouse processes and the food make line logistics, these include but are not limited to the receival of products, the process of storage, quantity tracking, location tracking, product retrieval, distribution preparation, packaging and repackaging of products as explained by Pihir et al (2011). This increases warehouse processes which reduces costs linked to warehouse space which directly contributes to more efficient operations. Although barcodes are an old technology, its widespread use has allowed it to persevere in warehouse and food makeline logistics. This means that the latest technology still incorporates its function, for example mobile phones are used as barcode scanners with an estimated growth of use by 700% in 2010.

LING, E.K. and WAHAB, S.N., 2020. Integrity of food supply chain: going beyond food safety and food quality. International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 29(2), pp.216-232.

MUYUMBA, T. and PHIRI, J., 2017. A Web based Inventory Control System using Cloud Architecture and Barcode Technology for Zambia Air Force. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications, 8(11), pp.132-142.

PIHIR, I., PIHIR, V. and VIDAČIĆ, S., 2011. June. Improvement of warehouse operations through implementation of mobile barcode systems aimed at advancing sales process. In Proceedings of the ITI 2011, 33rd International Conference on Information Technology Interfaces (pp. 433-438). IEEE.

SHARMA, A. and THOMAS, D., 2013. Looking backwards to look ahead: Lessons from barcode adoption for rfid adoption and implementation. In Proceedings of the Conference for Information Systems Applied Research ISSN (Vol. 2167, p. 1508).

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