Part II: The Problem with Shared Prefixes. Oops!

men walking in warehouse for suppliesIn part one of this series, we discussed what a UPC barcode is and why we rely on them in the marketplace. Today, we’ll focus on an all too common issue that many companies experience when they purchase their barcodes from a wholesaler. 

What Are Shared Prefixes?

Let’s say a business owner (brand owner #1) who owns and distributes several products decides to purchase a block of numbers from a barcode wholesaler. The wholesaler owns a single UPC/GS1 company prefix. The wholesaler then sells the ownership of individual numbers to the business owner, which is what we call in our industry a “shared prefix.”  

Next, let’s imagine the shared prefix is 0.12345 and the sold numbers were 00101 through 00110—generating a total of 10 individual product codes.

Why Are Shared Prefixes Risky?

Using the same above scenario, let’s now imagine the wholesaler sells another block of numbers to a different business owner (brand owner #2). These product numbers are 00111 through 00120. 

For a while, all goes well until a new employee for brand owner #1 needs another product code after using all 10 product codes from the original wholesale purchase. And being the enterprising person he/she is, he/she sees the sequence of numbers already used and decides to go ahead and use the next available number, which was 00111. (Remember, that number is also being used by brand owner #2.) Next, imagine both products show up at the retailer at the same time. Oops! 

What happens next is brand owner #1 gets an instant recall. I’ve seen this more than once, and it can create disastrous consequences for your business, both financially and operationally. 

If you’ve purchased from a barcode wholesaler in the past, it’s only a matter of time before this can happen to you!  

Purchase Your UPC Barcodes with Prefix-Xchange

Trust the experts at Prefix-Xchange to provide the most seamless process for purchasing your company prefix. Our team will work with you to ensure your business receives what you need in a timely, efficient manner, so you can avoid costly GS1™ annual renewal fees and prevent shared prefix situations from hurting your business. 

Get started today!

Prefix-Xchange, Inc./President

The Bar Code Doctor-TM

+1.763.229.2039 direct