Though we tend of think the use of bar code labels is limited to the retail industry, there is a significant amount of use in manufacturing as well. In fact, it is highly possible that industrial use of bar code labels preceded their use in the retail industry. Manufacturing plants have labeled their products for many years with identifying codes, so the inception of the system of bar coding made their jobs much easier. This is especially true in the production areas where the need for identification of hazardous materials exists.

In the pharmaceutical industry, bar code labels have made it possible for drugs to be identified by categories, thus making it easier for the pharmacies to keep track of controlled substances they are dispensing. In addition, they are able to track a patient's use of prescriptions as they are scanned into the drugstore's computer system. For the chain stores, this prevents a patient from being able to go to another location of the same chain and purchase the same medications.

The switch to bar code labels has made the work of the shipping departments in the production and manufacturing industries much quicker, thus shortening the time from production to entry into inventory for availability to customers. Hopefully as the 21st century progresses, we will find more ways to make improvements in the shipping, manufacturing, and production areas through continued use of bar coding. The concept is still fairly new compared to the way we used to do things.

Bar code labels make it easier for warehouse workers to know where to put materials and how to stack them based on the information a company connects to the bar codes. You can even use the bar codes to program your computer to tell you where to stack new inventory that arrives.

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