Electronic Product Code™ (EPC) is a numbering system, which works with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and global communications networks, to track and trace goods as they move through the global supply chain. When an item carries an RFID tag embedded with an EPC number, its origins, date of production and other information can be discovered simply by scanning the RFID tag and accessing a secure remote computer database.
Like bar codes, EPCs do not carry personally identifiable information But the EPC does what the bar code does – and more. In addition to identifying the manufacturer and the product, the EPC allows the manufacturer to add a serial number to uniquely identify an individual product. An EPC can be associated with specific product information, such as date of manufacture, origin and destination of shipment. This allows a manufacturer or a retailer to distinguish products even if the product is the exact same as the one next to it on the shelf. Each product can be identified and managed separately. This eliminates the possibility of incorrectly counting the same item several times.
The EPCglobal Network is a set of technologies that enable immediate, automatic identification and sharing of information on items in the supply chain. In this way, the EPCglobal Network will make organizations more effective by enabling true visibility of information about items in the supply chain.
GS1 EPCglobal provides a set of standards to identify, capture and share data using RFID technologies.
Find more about the complete suite of GS1 EPCglobal standards