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What Is an Electronic Product Code (EPC)? | Speed Commerce

What Is an Electronic Product Code (EPC)?

3PL Glossary > Electronic Product Code (EPC)

What Is an Electronic Product Code (EPC)?

The Electronic Product Code (EPC) is a unique identifier assigned to products, items, or assets in the supply chain to enable accurate and efficient tracking and management. Developed to improve upon traditional barcode systems, the EPC uses RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology to store and transmit information. The EPC is part of the EPCglobal Network, an international standard for RFID use in the supply chain.

What Are Examples of Electronic Product Codes?

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The EPC consists of a unique identification number that provides a distinct identity to each individual item or product. It comprises the EPC header, which indicates the length and type of EPC, and the EPC data, which holds the unique identifier. The EPCglobal standards ensure interoperability and consistency in the use of EPCs, allowing businesses to share and utilize information seamlessly across the supply chain.

The EPC plays a vital role in enhancing visibility, traceability, and efficiency in the supply chain. By attaching RFID tags with unique EPCs to products, companies can track items in real-time, monitor inventory levels, reduce errors in shipping and receiving, and improve overall supply chain management. The EPCglobal Network and EPC standards continue to evolve, contributing to the advancement of RFID technology and its widespread adoption in various industries.


No. While both EPCs and barcodes serve the purpose of uniquely identifying products, they use different technologies. EPCs typically utilize RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology, while barcodes use optical scanning technology. EPCs offer advantages such as real-time tracking and improved efficiency in supply chain operations.

No. EPCs, especially when implemented using RFID technology, do not necessarily require constant internet connectivity for tracking. RFID tags with embedded EPCs can be read using RFID readers, enabling real-time tracking even in areas with limited or no internet connectivity. However, internet connectivity may be necessary for accessing centralized databases and analytics tools for comprehensive supply chain management.

No. While businesses may generate internal identifiers, adhering to global standards set by organizations like EPCglobal is vital for interoperability and collaboration within the supply chain. EPCglobal standards ensure that EPCs are recognized and utilized consistently across different systems and industries.

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