How to Read Lowe's Inventory Control Numbers

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Lowe's, like many other large retailers, use bar codes for inventory control.
Lowe's, like many other large retailers, use bar codes for inventory control. (Image: pencil and barcode image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from Fotolia.com)

Lowe's hardware stores operate the same way as most other major retailers in stocking thousands of goods and products. They use an automated inventory control system to track, stock, order, and manage all the products sold at hundreds of stores nationwide. To achieve this feat, both the store and its suppliers must use the same system of coding to control supplies. This information is then scanned at the receipt, stocking, and sales point to track the movement of inventory.

Find the product you are looking for at Lowe's. Turn the product box or other packaging around until you find a bar code printed on one of the sides. Use a magnifying glass if the numbers and code are hard to see.

Write down the name of the product and the bar code number you found on the packaging or product side onto a note pad. Locate a Lowe's employee after you put the product back on its shelf. Count the number of digits on the car code numeric sequence.

Determine if the numeric count equals 12 without any symbols being suppressed (printed lower than the others in position). Look up this information via the Internet on the GT1 website for 12 UPC-Version A codes (see Resources). Determine if the field counts to 12 digits but includes a suppressed 0 in the printed display. Reference this information as a UPC-Version E code on the GT1 website (see Resources). Determine if the field equals 13 digits and not 12 at all. Reference the EAN-13 codes with GT1 instead (see Resources).

Return to Lowe's and ask an employee to look up the product in the inventory screen to see how many items of the product are available.

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