August 29, 2007

Global Trade Item Number Facts

What is a GTIN? How is it used? What are the benefits?

The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is the unique GS1 System identification number used for trade items or products and services. It is used for identifying trade items that are sold, delivered, warehoused and billed in commercial distribution channels.

GTINs are used to identify trade items as they move along the supply chain to the ultimate end user. GTINs are encoded in data carriers such as bar codes and electronic product code compliant RFID tags. Also, as an important component of electronic commerce, GTINs are key identifier numbers used to synchronize business information between trading partners

• A GTIN is a number containing 14 digits, 13 digits, 12 digits or 8 digits.

• The Universal Product Code or UPC contains a 12 digit GTIN

• The EAN contains a 13 digit GTIN.

GS1 recommends that GTINs be represented in software applications as 14 digits by right justifying and zero filling left, as appropriate. A unique trade item is assigned a unique GTIN. Therefore, an individual item, an inner pack of six individual items, and a case of six inner packs of individual items require three different GTINs.

Common uses of GTINs are the scanning of UPC symbols at receiving docks warehouses or at retail check outs. The UPC symbol is scanned, the 12 digit GTIN is read and the data is used to look up the price or is stored in the user’s business system for other purposes.

GTINs enable trading partners to identify their trade items worldwide creating supply chain efficiencies and cost savings such as:

• Facilitating flow of trade items along the supply chain

• Identifying products at all levels of packaging such as pallet, case and item

• Allowing accurate machine readable identification of trade items when encoded in data carriers such as bar code

• Globally accepting GS1 standards

Like all GS1 identification numbers, the GTIN is based on the GS1 company prefix, the global unique number licensed to a company or organization by GS1 US. The first step to receiving your GS1 Company prefix is joining Partner connections, the program supported by GS1 US BarCodes and eCom.

When you receive your GS1 company prefix you will be able to create identification numbers and bar codes to communicate product and location information with your trading partners, getting your products to the selling phase faster and making your supply chain more efficient. Go here to get started.

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