Barcodes are amazing things, aren’t they? They’re the kind of things I’ll never take for granted.

Barcodes have been around for a long time, ever since we’ve had the technology to point a device at a code – or point the code-bearing item at a device – and have it translated into a specific inventory record in a company’s supply chain or retail computer system.

The fact that all the billions of things out there can each have their own unique sequence of numbers and bars makes business flow at the pace it does. You can have a code for one item, another code for a box of them, another for a case of boxes, and for all I know another code for an entire pallet of thousands of them. They enable the entire supply chain and retailer to keep a electronic record of the physical movement of an item, from creation to distribution, to consumption.

Owning the code conventions and selling the codes is, of course, big business. But they’re worth every penny or cent, in my view.