The Barcode is 40

6/26/2014 in Records Management

The barcode is not something you stop to ponder very often, but you probably use in some capacity every day. Its life began when a grad student in Philadelphia saw the need to help a local grocer manage his inventory. Today it turns 40 years old. Well, the barcode was actually invented a decade before, but it was in June 1974 that it was first put into commercial use for automated checkout systems in grocery stores. This technology revolutionized not only the grocery, but entire retail industry. The idea spread beyond retail into other industries and the use of the barcode expanded. That’s what happens with good ideas.

Today, the use of the barcode is widespread and varied but the purpose of it is the same – to automatically identify and capture data. In addition to retail, healthcare organizations use them in hospitals to keep track of patient information and pharmaceuticals would be lost without them trying to maintain accurate records.  Think about how airlines manage to keep your luggage going to the right destination (most of the time) and how they find it when it goes astray. What about registered mail? That’s right, it is all organized by that’s right, the barcode.

So what do all those industries have in common? The need to manage and maintain accurate data.  We know a thing or two about that too. With record centers across the US  managing all of our clients’ vital corporate records, we rely on barcodes to make sure that each record, file and box are where they are supposed to be at all times. Whether a file is on the shelf in our record center, with our conversion services professionals or on its way to being delivered to you, we’ve got it tracked using barcode technology. We take it for granted, but today as it celebrates 40 years of changing how we live our lives, the barcode deserves a nod.


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