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On Track: Obtaining UPC Codes

The opportunity to sell products on a large scale requires obtaining UPC Codes. These codes were first introduced as a means of speeding up the sale of grocery items, but have become an efficient means of defining and tracking virtually every good imaginable.

Despite what some may believe obtaining UPS Codes cannot be done through the government. The Uniform Code Council (UCC) is the assigning agent for UPC Codes for those who wish to place a readable custom code on their products. Applying a code to your product is entirely voluntary, but highly desirable.

Certain numbers on the barcode are provided by the UCC while other numbers are a function of internal product control and are assigned by a product manufacturer.

The system of tracking these codes dates back several decades, but the original intent of the coding remains firmly established with a variety of unique tracking methods using barcodes including the tracking of packages from shipping and postal firms.

International suppliers began to ask for a means of obtaining UPC Codes and were introduced to small modifications that alter the codes just enough to make them useable in other countries with specific country coding. If a company wishes to export their products they will need to apply for codes specific to the country in which they will be selling their product.

In the future there may be a new method for tracking and scanning merchandise that may rely on microchips with pertinent data embedded, however the long term use of UPC Codes along with the cost effective nature of the codes make any changes less than desirable in the near term.

Obtaining UPC Codes is not a mandatory function; however it may well be advisable considering the fact that many companies will not sell a product without a UPC Code. The reasoning is quite simple - if a company has a fully functional method of tracking and pricing a product and you can’t conform to that system, the result is the expenditure of excess time and personnel resources to ensure the product is sold at the right price and is tracked manually.

Obtaining UPC codes can be done online by visiting the website of the Uniform Code Council at