Two-Dimensional Bar Code as a Medium for Electronic Data Interchange

Robert B. Johnston and Alvin Khin Choy Yap
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 3, Number 1, Fall 1998, pp. 86.

Abstract: The development in the late 1980s of two-dimensional bar code symbols capable of storing kilobytes of information in a single symbol and unlimited data in multiple symbols has led to the suggestion that the bar code could be used as a medium for transmitting electronic data interchange (EDI) messages. This paper considers whether this suggestion targets any real business problem and whether such a system would work in practice. The transmission of shipment information between suppliers and customers was identified as a potential application of bar code EDI. Problems arising from lack of synchrony between the electronic message and physical delivery are encountered with conventional EDI approaches, and these problems become especially acute in a just-in-time replenishment environment. This paper reports the results of three studies to address the organizational, technical, and practical feasibility of bar code EDI.

Key Words and Phrases: Bar code, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory systems, just-in-time (JIT), PDF417.