Dodge, Martin and Kitchin, Rob
Barcodes and RFIDs.
Globalization in Practice.
Oxford University Press, pp. 268-271.
One of the key phenomena of the globalization of commerce has been the
internationalisation of goods and brands. A set of diverse practices and processes,
including the transformation of transport infrastructure and logistics and the
virtualisation of money, have enabled both producers (e.g., goods manufacturers) and
sellers (e.g., wholesalers, supermarkets) to massively extend supply chains, to
globally expand their markets, and to increase their turnover and profits. A key
technology in improving the efficiency and productivity of logistical organisation and
operation has been development of sophisticated identification systems that overcome
the anonymity of manufactured products by assigning unique numerical identifiers –
digital thumbprints - to material products. These identification systems allow
products to be effectively and unambiguously processed, shipped and traced through
complex logistical networks, to monitor sales, aid account management, refine supply
chains and inform marketing strategies. Conceptually they have two distinct
components, first an agreed allocation of unique id code numbers and, second, an
agreed media to physical store the code. The most obvious manifestation of this
technology for product identification and tracking are the parallel black and white
printed stripes of barcodes.
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