According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a graduate student, overheard a conversation in the halls of Philadelphia’s Drexel Institute of Technology. The president of a local food chain was pleading with one of the deans to undertake research on capturing product information automatically at checkout. The dean turned down the request, but Silver mentioned the conversation to his friend Norman Joseph Woodland, a twenty-seven-year-old graduate student and teacher at Drexel. The problem fascinated Woodland, who would eventually be credited as the father of modern barcoding systems.
Fast forward 25 years to the date April 3, 1973, and the research that Woodland & Silver founded and companies like IBM and RCA had since taken up (Silver passed away in 1963) came to fruition with the official adoption of the Universal Product Code, transforming bar codes from a curiosity into a business necessity.
For whatever reason, while barcodes would become standard across virtually every industry that sells products at retail over the last 40-plus years, agricultural input retailers embraced the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, clinging to the old school way of doing things: hard copy paper load out tickets and having the office secretary do manual accounting data input, etc.
CropLife 100’s No. 46-ranked retailer Ceres Solutions (Crawfordsville, IN) is in the midst of an AgGateway-backed program that could go a long way in changing that mindset in the industry.
Read the full update on the AIDC seed barcoding initiative on sister site CropLife.com.