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The establishment of the Universal Product Code consisted of many steps and stages:

  1. Leading grocery retailers and manufacturers with the help of management consultants structured and guided the process.
  2. Checkout equipment manufacturers assisted in analyzing the benefits, proposed symbol technologies, and then created the equipment required to scan the symbol, and supported the equipment in the live store environments.
  3. At considerable expense grocery manufacturers and the printing and packaging industry redesigned the packaging on every product they produced.
  4. Grocery retailers gradually tested early scanning electronic checkout systems in stores to prove the systems worked and then became more assertive that their suppliers complied with the standard.
  5. Existing industry associations became involved in supporting the effort and new specific organizations were formed.

Many stories may be told by participants in each of these groups. Please link down through each session to learn little known details about what went on to establish what today is simply called "the barcode."

And if you were a participant in the introduction of scanning and would like to share some of your memories, please send an email to the Project Leader, Bill Selmeier. After a short validation process we will welcome your input.

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