One of the common misconceptions in barcode tracking is that the tracking barcodes needs to contain all the information that you need to know about the contents of a container, such as the part number, the quantity, the manufacturer, the lot number and the expiration date. While there are contents standards, such as that specified by the GS1 organization, this results in very long 1D barcodes that cannot be easily decoded using low-cost barcode scanners or 2D barcodes that require the use of more expensive barcode scanners.
This white paper explains how to use a technique known as license-plate tracking to solve this problem. This technique is used by FedEx and UPS but is also applicable to many industrial organizations that need to track containers of material. License-plate tracking places all the data about the contents of a container of material or a serialized item in a database record and then uses the tracking barcode attached to the item or container as a reference to the database record containing all the information about that container.