Barcodes Taking Africa by Storm! The Evolution Carries On

    As Africans, we have all come to know those black-and-white stripes that make up the Universal Product Code (UPC), or more commonly known as the European Article Number (EAN) barcodes, that pop up on nearly all products that consumers buy these days. They are so omnipresent that no one really gives them a second glance anymore. Interesting, when we consider that about 40 years ago barcodes were an innovative and trailblazing technology that swore to revolutionize the consumer world and transform the way business was done. This promise was undoubtedly upheld, as barcodes turned the way in which businesses kept track of and administered inventory completely upside down. The 1970s was just the start of the revolution, and the growth of barcodes shows no signs of slowing down.

    Before we get into the thick of things, here’s a refresher on what barcodes are and what they do. Barcodes are essentially an identity card for your products. They consist of a unique 12- or 13-digit sequence that are used in retail stores to track and monitor products in their inventory systems. The barcode itself consists of black lines on a white surface that vary in width and can be read by a barcode scanner, and below are the corresponding numbers for manual input should that be necessary. Remember that barcodes themselves do not contain any product information but rather point the computer in the direction of finding this information. So, the way in which barcodes work then is that they signal to the computer where to find the information for a product in its inventory system.

    What does history tell us about barcodes? Well, they were invented for use in grocery stores for an easier point-of-sale checkout process and this is where they found major success. This success prompted the growth of the barcode in general, and the original 1-dimensional barcode can now be found in a 2-dimensional and even a 3-dimensional form that can accommodate a far greater volume of information. These are more interactive, creating an unparalleled level of accuracy and efficiency in data collection and an increased level of productivity throughout the supply chain as a whole. As the need for the barcode has grown rapidly, so have advancements in the corresponding technology. These days barcodes can be made the size of a grain of rice and attached to honeybees to monitor their mating habits, but can also be made 2 feet long to be attached to ships.

    The spread of the power of the barcode truly was an international phenomenon, and South Africa, in particular, was no exception to this! Many quality barcode sellers and barcode generators have emerged that provide South Africans with a local service on a small (and might I say exceptionally cheap) scale to buy barcodes in South Africa, giving local businesses the opportunity to market their products and compete in the consumer industry on a global scale. If you are a business, and are wondering how to get a barcode or how to register a barcode in South Africa, here are 2 of the best local sources I found:

    Barcodes South Africa:

    Barcodes South Africa should be your first stop if you are interested in how to get a barcode in South Africa. This blog style website provides the most comprehensive summary of all the information you will need regarding barcodes and barcode generators in South Africa. They have a handy FAQ section and I struggled to find a question that they had not addressed. The most attractive part of this site is that they have a page on legitimate barcode sellers and resellers in South Africa with a useful breakdown or synopsis of reputable companies and what they offer. Basically, this site does all the research for you and will give you complete peace of mind. Give it a look – I doubt you will feel the need to look any further!

    SA Barcodes:

    SA Barcodes is one of the best authorised resellers of barcodes and have their head office in Cape Town, however they deliver all over South Africa. They can generate barcodes that are registered EAN and UPC codes at exceptional rates and are much cheaper than purchasing barcodes through other channels. What is also amazing about SA Barcodes is that there is no minimum number of barcodes you need to purchase and if you only have 1 product and only need 1 barcode, they can do that for you no problem. This is an amazing online platform for small start-up businesses who are looking to grow their inventory over time and are highly recommended.

    So, what’s next?

    Barcode development in Africa shows no sign of slowing down and new barcodes with incredible abilities are being developed every day. It is inevitable that you will not be able to thrive in the business world without a barcode, big or small, in South Africa or anywhere else in the world. With this in mind, why not check out one of the Barcode South Africa sellers and get ahead of the game? You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

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