As well as their use in the retail world, there are many applications where barcodes can provide an inexpensive and reliable method of tracking products. Barcodes can now be found in many different applications and industries. These include their use by couriers on packages, by insurance companies in archived document stores, on component parts in various manufacturing industries, at Point of Sale and on valuable assets within organisations such as hospitals.
All of these applications have common features, in particular that the data encoded into the barcode uniquely identifies the item or group of items. If an individual item needs to be identified so that this item can be tracked while moving through a system or process, then it will probably have an adhesive bar coded label attached to itself or its containing packaging. Alternatively, if items are in a store room, then the shelf location may be labelled and the barcode on that label will be scanned whenever those particular items are added to or removed from that shelf location.
By putting together the barcode creation, printing, verifying, scanning and database integration, you can develop a complete system for uniquely identifying and tracing products.