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My Experience of Barcode Training in GS1 Ireland

Mar 21, 2019, by Fionnuala Malone - Category: Barcode Training

Total Beginner

As the new Digital Marketing Executive for Retail and FMCG in GS1 Ireland, I was completely unfamiliar with GS1 and barcoding when I started this new role in January 2019.  This gave me a direct insight into the learning curve also experienced by each of our new members when they come to barcoding their products for the first time.

As part of my on-boarding as a new employee with GS1 Ireland, I completed the 1-day GS1 Barcode Training Classroom Course. I was both apprehensive and really looking forward to the training as I knew it would give me a better much understanding of the whole barcoding process. Aside from learning about the technicalities of allocating barcode numbers and creating symbols, one of the additional benefits of the course was meeting manufacturers and distributors from industry and learning so much more about their day-to-day business and supply chain challenges.

Barcodes for Breakfast

The morning session of the training course focused on the basics of identifying products, including the different types of barcodes, the rules for allocating numbers, how to ensure good barcode print quality and managing barcode numbers using GS1 Ireland’s online tool, Barcode Manager.

We learned some interesting facts about how the idea of the barcode was born (drawing lines in the sand on Miami Beach), the first product to have a barcode (a packet of Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum) and the number of barcodes scanned per day (six billion). We also learned key quality criteria like the size a barcode should be, what colours work (and more importantly don’t work!) and the level of print quality required. I now know about “guard bars”, “x-dimensions”, “quiet zones” and “print gains” – none of which I had heard of before but which are key to making sure your barcode scans, first time, every time, in the shop or warehouse!

Barcode Colours

To see if we were paying attention, Tim our Training Leader gave us a short quiz to test our knowledge of barcode quality. We got 12 pictures of barcodes and our task was to ascertain if they would scan or not and if not, why not. It was a really useful and practical exercise as we had to apply what we had learned during the course of the morning to actual real-life examples.

An Afternoon of Sharing Ideas

The afternoon session shifted gear to look at supply chain barcodes and in particular those used on outer cases and pallets. We were introduced to the Logistics Label Tool which helps companies create barcoded pallet labels.

Blue Pallet

Collaboration and advice

While everyone learned a lot from the training, both practically and technically, one of the hidden benefits was that my co-trainees on the course were able to discuss with each other the processes that are in place in their own companies, to compare and contrast practices and learn about opportunities for improvement.

As the day progressed, we discovered that we all shared similar pain points and challenges, and were able to share ideas as to how these could be avoided or changed. The course also provided the opportunity for each attendee to discuss with Tim any particular issues they are facing in their own organisations in areas such as traceability or data management and how these might be resolved.


About the GS1 Barcode Training Course

Barcode Training is a one-day programme offered by GS1 Ireland and delivered by Tim Daly and Alec Tubridy from the GS1 Ireland Industry Engagement Team. The course is aimed at anyone who needs to know how to manage barcode numbers, such as those working in the areas of packaging, marketing, supply chain, procurement, inventory management and more.

Training Dates

If you are interested in barcode training, it is currently being held online. The list of all the dates for the rest of the year is on our website here. If you would like to register for any of these dates, you can do so on our website. If you have a question about training, you can email

Tags: Barcode Training, Classroom Training, Tim Daly

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