U.P.C. Bar Code Celebrates 30th Birthday June 25th; The Famous Universal Product Code Marks Three Decades of Providing Benefits to Consumers and Business.LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. & TROY, Ohio -- The Uniform Code Council (UCC An abbreviation for the Uniform Commercial Code. ), the not-for-profit business standards organization that brought the world famous U.P.C. bar code to life thirty years ago this week, and Marsh Supermarkets, the grocery chain that hosted the world's first live scan, announced plans to celebrate the U.P.C.'s 30th birthday. The event will take place at the original Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio on Friday, June 25th at 9 AM. Representatives of Marsh Supermarkets, the UCC, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company The Wrigley Company (NYSE: WWY) was founded on April 1, 1891 originally selling products such as soap and baking powder. In 1892, William Wrigley, Jr., the company's founder, began offering chewing gum with each can of baking powder. , and the original cashier who scanned the first U.P.C., will be among the dignitaries on hand to recognize and celebrate the bar code's enormous contributions.
It is estimated that the U.P.C. has saved shoppers, retailers, and manufacturers over a trillion dollars and become an essential part of everyday commerce and consumer life. With the initial scan of a pack of Wrigley's chewing gum on June 26th, 1974, no one could have imagined that the now-familiar bar code would transform global commerce so quickly and so profoundly.
Michael Di Yeso, the President and Chief Operating Officer Chief Operating Officer (COO)
The officer of a firm responsible for day-to-day management, usually the president or an executive vice-president. of the UCC said, "The Uniform Code Council is proud of the many ways the U.P.C. bar code has improved business and brought convenience and benefits to consumers around the world. This bar code has become a real business icon. It gets better with age."
The Birth of the Bar Code
The U.P.C. was the outgrowth of meetings that took place in the late 1960's by leaders of the U.S. grocery industry who were searching for ways to reduce food costs and congestion The condition of a network when there is not enough bandwidth to support the current traffic load.
congestion - When the offered load of a data communication path exceeds the capacity. at the checkout line. In 1974, after five years of development, the U.P.C. was introduced. Don Marsh, the Chairman and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of the Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarket Chain, agreed to make their Troy, Ohio store the site of the first U.P.C. system.
Jodi Marsh, Vice President of Community Affairs for Marsh Supermarkets said, "Being the first store in the world to implement the U.P.C. is a real source of pride for the entire Marsh Supermarket chain. Today we're 16,000 employees strong, and every associate knows what an important role the Marsh organization played in making the U.P.C. such a major force in business." Sharon Buchanan, the Marsh Supermarket cashier who made the first U.P.C. scan said, "When they started installing the new equipment, we knew it was important, but we had no idea just how far this bar code would go."
Foundation for a Global Language of Business
Originally developed to help supermarkets speed up the checkout process, the U.P.C. is composed of a row of 59 black and white bars that vary in length that are read by the scanner. Printed beneath the bars is a series of 12 numbers, which together identify the manufacturer and the specific product.
The U.P.C.'s benefits went far beyond the checkout lane. It eliminated the need for manual pricing, resulting in lower-priced products. Checkouts became faster and more accurate, saving consumers time and money. The U.P.C. also allowed retailers and manufacturers to manage and replenish inventory more efficiently, as well as automate many processes and operations, like special promotions, coupons, and product returns.
The expansion of the U.P.C. has allowed the Uniform Code Council to develop an entire family of bar codes that allow companies to uniquely identify products, but also cartons, cases, pallets, assets, and even coupons. The organization estimates that these bar codes are scanned over 10 billion times a day worldwide. The economic benefits of the U.P.C. have been enormous. A 1999 PriceWaterhouseCoopers study estimated that the bar code saves over 17 billion dollars annually in the domestic retail industry alone--probably much more in today's economy.
Today, the Universal Product Code lives up to its name as a truly universal bar code. It is now used in 23 major industries, including grocery, retail, healthcare, government, foodservice, industrial/commercial, transportation, and high-technology. In 1977, EAN EAN
experimental allergic neuritis. International, the UCC's global partner, began commercializing a 13-digit companion bar code to the U.P.C. called EAN-13. The worldwide success of both symbologies became the foundation for the EAN-UCC EAN-UCC European Article Numbering-Uniform Code Council System of bar code and electronic commerce standards, which are used by over one million companies to facilitate efficient commerce in 141 nations. EAN International and the UCC have announced plans to rename their organizations GS1, with a planned rollout in 2005.
The U.P.C.'s success has allowed the UCC to introduce new standards initiatives to benefit consumers and industry. Reduced Space Symbology sym·bol·o·gy
1. The study or interpretation of symbols or symbolism.
2. The use of symbols.
1. the study and interpretation of symbols. Also called symbolism. , a smaller "bar code cousin" to the U.P.C. is now being used to mark small healthcare items, such as vials, blister packs, ampules, and syringes. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA FDA
Food and Drug Administration
n.pr See Food and Drug Administration.
n.pr the abbreviation for the Food and Drug Administration. ) mandated that pharmaceutical companies bar code their medicines down to the unit of dose so that they can be scanned in hospitals and endorsed Reduced Space Symbology as a means to reduce medication errors. Mr. Di Yeso said, "It is gratifying grat·i·fy
tr.v. grat·i·fied, grat·i·fy·ing, grat·i·fies
1. To please or satisfy: His achievement gratified his father. See Synonyms at please.
2. to think that the same bar code technology we developed 30 years ago to save time in the grocery checkout lane will now be used to save lives."
The UCC is also in the process of working with industry to standardize and commercialize its newest innovation called the Electronic Product Code. This "wireless bar code" will use low-power radio frequency tags and readers to automatically capture information like bar coding, but with even greater benefits to consumers. Di Yeso stated, "We strongly believe that once manufacturers, distributors, and retailers begin to adopt and use this technology in their businesses, its impact will eclipse the benefits achieved by the U.P.C. bar code."
In recognition of the U.P.C.'s impact on global commerce, the original pack of Wrigley's gum and the actual checkout scanning unit from the Troy, Ohio Marsh store are now housed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History The National Museum of American History is a museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution and located in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall. It opened in 1964 as the Museum of History and Technology and adopted its current name in 1980. in Washington, DC. Ms. Buchanan added, "A few years ago my granddaughter went on her class trip to Washington. They visited the Smithsonian and she took everyone to the U.P.C. display and told them her grandma was part of that. The funny thing was that nobody would believe her."
About the Uniform Code Council
The Uniform Code Council, Inc. (UCC) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development and implementation of standards-based, global supply chain solutions. Under its auspices, the UCC operates three subsidiaries, UCCnet, RosettaNet, and EPCglobal US and it co-manages the global EAN-UCC System with EAN International. The UCC also manages the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC UNSPSC Universal Standard Products and Services Classification
UNSPSC United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (R)) for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNDP Unión Nacional para la Democracia y el Progreso (National Union for Democracy and Progress) ). The newly formed EPCglobal, Inc. is a joint venture of the Uniform Code Council and EAN International. UCC-based solutions, including business processes, XML XML
in full Extensible Markup Language.
Markup language developed to be a simplified and more structural version of SGML. It incorporates features of HTML (e.g., hypertext linking), but is designed to overcome some of HTML's limitations. standards, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) The electronic communication of business transactions, such as orders, confirmations and invoices, between organizations. Third parties provide EDI services that enable organizations with different equipment to connect. transaction sets, and the bar code identification standards of the EAN-UCC System are currently used by more than one million member companies worldwide. For more information about the Uniform Code Council, please visit: www.uc-council.org.
About Marsh Supermarkets
One of the largest regional grocery chains in the United States, Marsh Supermarkets operates 67 Marsh Supermarkets, 37 LoBill Foods(R) stores, 1 Savin savin
a neurotoxic war gas similar to organophosphorus insecticides but considerably more toxic, as demonstrated in the Tokyo subway massacre in 1995. *$(R), 164 Village Pantry(R) convenience stores and 9 O'Malia Food Markets in central Indiana and western Ohio. The company also operates Crystal Food Services food services Hospital services A 24/7 department in a hospital that provides for the nutritional needs of inpatients–eg, those needing special diets, preparing meals and transporting them to the floor and, through the cafeteria, the hospital staff and , which provides upscale catering, cafeteria management, office coffee vending and concessions, Primo Banquet Catering and Conference Centers, and Trios Di Tuscanos, a quick, casual restaurant. In addition, the company operates McNamara Florists and Enflora - Flowers for Business.
Marsh Supermarkets is a publicly held company that employs through its various divisions approximately 16,000 people, principally in a two-state area. Marsh common stock is traded on the NASDAQ NASDAQ
in full National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations
U.S. market for over-the-counter securities. Established in 1971 by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), NASDAQ is an automated quotation system that reports on National Market System (MARSA MARSA Methicillin-aminoglycoside resistant Staphylococcus aureus, see there and MARSB).