For most companies, bar codes play a critical role in keeping track of shipments—as long as they remain within certain geographical boundaries. Now, technology from Intermec Technologies Corp. can help you keep tabs on your freight any where in the world.
Prompted by recent industry developments, the company has reconfigured its bar-code scanners to support the Global Trade Item Numbering (GTIN) data structure. That standard, supported by the Uniform Code Council in North America and EAN International in the rest of the world, allows retailers to identify and share product and service item information seamlessly throughout global trading networks, from suppliers to buyers. It includes the 12-digit Universal Product Code familiar to consumers and retailers across North America, the 13-digit EAN.UCC code already in use outside of North America, and the newest standard, EAN.UCC-14.
The Uniform Code Council has set Jan. 1, 2005, as the target date for North American companies to accept the 13-digit EAN. UCC code and is encouraging everyone to accept the full 14-digit GTIN at the same time. The longer code will allow retailers and trading partners to provide complete item identification and handle a greater range of global products, eliminating the need to re-label or re-identify items for different geographic markets.
Intermec ScanPlus and Sabre families of scanners shipped since December 2002 have 14-digit GTIN data transmission capability. In addition, Intermec is offering firmware upgrades to existing Intermec scanners that provide the same ability to read and use the new GTIN data structure. Firmware upgrades can be performed on site by the customer or at a depot service center.
Currently, customers who want to support the 14-digit GTIN must change their database fields to 14 digits and add software to modify existing EAN.UCC data formats. The new Intermec firmware allows companies to automatically modify EAN and UCC data formats into the GTIN 14-digit format.
Intermec bar-code scanners designed for retail customers include the ScanPlus and MaxiScan series for in-store applications and the Sabre family for distribution center and warehousing environments.