Easily Configure European Article Numbers and Universal Product Codes in SAP Materials Management

  • by Suresh Veeraraghavan, Capgemini
  • October 26, 2010
Gain a deeper knowledge of what European Article Numbers (EAN) and Universal Product Codes (UPC) mean. Save valuable time by understanding how you can configure EANs and UPCs in the system and the reports you can run to validate the correctness of the configuration.
Key Concept

A Universal Product Code is a 12-digit code that is used in the United States to identify and track products. A European Article Number is a 13-digit code that is used in Europe to identify and track products.

Universal Product Codes (UPCs) are 12-digit barcodes grocers in the US adopted when they needed to increase the speed and efficiency of processing goods. IT systems scan UPCs to identify a product and eliminate the need to manually key in the product code. Eventually, the UPC system became so popular in the US and Canada that the Uniform Code Council (UCC) was formed. Later, Europe developed a 13-digit barcode called the European Article Number (EAN), which was compliant with the UPC standard already established in the US.  

In 2005, the UCC and EAN merged to become GS1. The UCC was renamed GS1 US and adopted all GS1 standards. Now, all US and Canadian companies are capable of scanning and processing both UPC and EAN codes at the point of sale. (The rest of the world uses EANs.)

I have implemented the barcode functionality for various clients. In this article I provide leading practices for implementation. I also explain how EANs and UPCs are configured in SAP systems.

Suresh Veeraraghavan

Suresh Veeraraghavan is a senior manager with Capgemini, a leading management and IT consulting firm. He works in the technology service group. He has 14 years of experience delivering SAP implementations in various capacities. Prior to joining Capgemini, he worked with Hewlett-Packard as a supply chain architect, managing and implementing SAP supply chain projects on a $26 billion platform. His expertise is in implementing best practices in supply chain management, specifically procure-to-pay and order-to-cash. He is a certified project management professional (PMP) and CPIM certified.

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