Company Prefix of Barcode
Many manufacturers in Pakistan look for obtaining special barcode prefixes. However, to get a unique barcode prefix, there are only two ways. One is to get the prefix from GS1, which will cause you a huge investment, not only once, but at the time of joining, and annually as well.
As for the second way, you can buy barcodes from us in batches of 10, 100, 1000, and 10,000. We are the sole seller of company prefixes like this around Pakistan.
However, you will not be issued a company prefix, if you buy a single or only one barcode. (Every single company in the world works by this policy). But, on the other hand, you will be supplied with a prefix, if you purchase the barcodes in 10, 100, 1000, and 10,000 blocks.
The company prefix’s length depends upon the number of variations needed to develop 13 digits. For example – if you purchase 10 barcode numbers, then of the 13 digits, the first 11 will be your company prefix. The 12th digit will vary from 0-9 (giving you 10 different barcode numbers), and the last digit is a calculated checksum.
Similarly, if you purchase 20 barcode numbers, you will get 2 company prefixes (giving 10 barcodes for each).
If you purchase 100 barcode numbers, then of the 13 digits, the first 10 will be your company prefix, the 11th & the 12th digits will vary from 00-99 (giving you 100 different barcode numbers), and the last digit is a calculated checksum.
Barcodes can be purchased here.
The Misconception of Manufacturer Code
There is a common myth that a barcode number is split into 4 parts.
The 13-digit EAN-13 number consists of four components:
- Prefix – 3 digits (often called a country code)
- Manufacturer Code – variable length
- Product Code – variable length
- Check digit
This concept was true-ish for many years. Originally GS1 issued blocks of 100,000 numbers to manufacturers – these were numbered 00000 to 99999 and were digits 8-12 of the 13-digit numbers. When combined with a 3-digit country code at the start of the number, this left digits 4 to 7 for the ‘manufacturer code’.
However, GS1 realized that issuing blocks of 100,000 numbers to companies that might only need a few barcode numbers was very wasteful. With a limited quantity of EAN13 numbers available (a million are available worldwide at the most), they needed to change their system. So in various countries, the starting block of numbers issued was reduced to 10,000 or 1,000 or 100 or 10 or even 1.
So, considering the number above, if it was issued as a block of 100,000 numbers, then it could be broken down as:
070 = country code
5632 = manufacturer code
44194 = product code
7 = check digit
This can be written as cccmmmmpppppc (ccc = country code, mmmm = manufacturer code, ppppp= product code, c = check digit)
However, if only 10,000 numbers are issued to the manufacturer, then the breakdown is cccmmmmmppppc
And for 1,000 numbers, it is cccmmmmmmpppc
And for 100 numbers, it is cccmmmmmmmppc
And for 10 numbers, it is cccmmmmmmmmpc
With this pattern, you will see that the ccc and mmm parts would be expected to stay the same for a manufacturer, and the part of the number would denote their product variations.
But what would happen if GS1 issued a single number? How could a single number have a common ‘manufacturer code’ and then a part that varies (the product code)?
Following this pattern, the code (for a single number) should be cccmmmmmmmmmc – but this is meaningless as there is no “product code”. So, in reality, a number like this should be expressed as cccpppppppppc – where the full sequence of ‘p’ is the product code, and there is no manufacturer code. (or even as pppppppppppc)
Obviously, this is logical – if a single number is issued, then that full number is the product code, and there is no common ‘manufacturer code’.
If GS1 issued single barcode numbers to manufacturers, they would be effectively demonstrating that this breakdown of barcode numbers into country code/manufacturer code/product code/check digit is a myth, as they would be issuing numbers that had no identifiable manufacturer code and product code.
This is what GS1 has done in New Zealand & Australia at least – they issue single numbers to manufacturers. They clearly demonstrate that this ‘manufacturer code’ concept is not always true and is definitely not important or essential.