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With increasing speed, the bar code is inching its way into the concrete industry. A bar code is a system that encodes numbers and letters and allows information to be read quickly and accurately by a computer. Equipping your operation with bar coding equipment can be costly, but it might be necessary to keep customers purchasing your products. Home centers operate on slim margins and demand that prices be exact. Bar codes help them stay competitive. The Uniform Code Council (UCC) issues standards for the bar code industry and supplies information on obtaining numbers for bar codes. The UCC assigns a six-digit manufacturer's identification number for a one-time fee based on the most recently completed fiscal year's sales. Each product is assigned a 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC). The first six digits are the UCC number, and the manufacturer assigns the second five digits. Using a special formula, the last digit is calculated based on the first 11 digits. Labels are printed according to UCC standards, either in house or by a printer.