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JICC Calls for Re-engineering Coupon Bar Codes

WASHINGTON - The Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) has issued a white paper that recommends changes to the coupon bar code.

The JICC identified Reduced Space Symbology (RSS) as the best option available to the industry to re-engineer bar codes to achieve benefits including faster coupon processing and improvements in validation and processing controls. RSS has been designed for new applications or applications where limited space is a challenge. The technology is currently used in pharmaceutical and medical/surgical products.

Standards planning for coupon re-engineering is under way and expected to be completed in February. The Uniform Code Council (UCC) board is expected to complete official adoption of RSS by January 2008, when the industry will have a sufficient number of scanners to support RSS applications and installations. The JICC also is planning to create a user-friendly "coupon wizard" to aid in creating accurate RSS coupon bar codes.

The paper, "The Case for Re-Engineering the Coupon Bar Code," also examines the effects of the 2005 Sunrise program, when the UCC will begin issuing variable-length UCC company prefixes, and retailers will be expected to accept imported products identified with EAN.UCC company prefixes. Both changes will lead to an increasing number of coupon misredemptions if the full prefix is not included in the bar code and processed, according to the report.
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