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- Which barcode symbols to use & symbol sizes
- GTIN’s & GLN’s
- Identification of products at each level of the packaging hierarchy
- The product data to be included in barcodes
- How to use Human Readable Interpretation (HRI)
- Barcode specifications and which Application Identifiers to use
WHO ARE GS1?
GS1 is an organisation that defines the standards that ensure barcodes work in every supply chain in every country. In 2013, GS1 was accredited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an issuing agency for unique device identifiers (UDIs). Global GS1 standards help manufacturers comply with the requirements of the FDA UDI regulation. GS1 will also play a leading role in the NHS e-Procurement strategy.
BARCODE SYMBOLS & SIZES
Different barcodes are used in different industries. If your barcode will be scanned at Point of Sale (POS) then GS1 recommend you use EAN/UPC as they’re guaranteed to be scanned by POS systems all over the world. If you are printing a barcode with variable information like serial numbers, expiry dates or measures then you will use GS1-128 or GS1 2D symbols. If you want to encode a URL to make extended packaging information available to the end consumer then you should use a GS1 2D symbol. For barcodes used on an outer case which needs to be scanned in a logistics environment and printed on corrugated carton an ITF-14 would be the best choice. For each barcode there are permissible sizes of the x and y dimension based on the height and width.
GLOBAL TRADE ITEM NUMBER
The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a globally unique number used to identify trade items, products, or services. The GTIN Management Standard provides guidance when a change to a product is made in a way that is relevant to the trading process, such as the brand name, type and variety, or size.
GLOBAL LOCATION NUMBER
The Global Location Number (GLN) is encoded into the barcode to identify an organisation as a corporate entity. GLN extensions can be used by companies to identify a more granular level such as a store, a warehouse, or a berth in a port. Information associated with each GLN is held internally by trading partners or on central databases.
GLOBAL DATA SYNCHRONISATION NETWORK
The Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) supports accurate, real-time data sharing and trade item updates among your subscribed trading partners.
In order to optimise information across the supply chain, all levels of packaging from the individual unit to the case should be marked, regardless of whether it is sold commercially. Identifying and marking all levels of packaging provides a much greater level of information, especially useful for recalls and tracking. The GS1 System provides Identification Numbers for logistics units (i.e., pallets; containers; etc.), packaging levels (i.e., boxes; cases; etc.), and individual items (i.e., unit of dose).
PRODUCT DATA IN BARCODES
The information you will put in your barcode is dependent on what your product is. Each industry has optional or compulsory standards which labellers follow.
HUMAN READABLE INTERPRETATION
The text beneath a barcode called the Human Readable Interpretation (HRI) is important because if the barcode is damaged or of a poor quality to begin with then the text is used as a backup. The human readable text must be clearly legible and in a proportion to the symbol size. The HRI should be placed below the symbol wherever possible. It should contain the application identifiers in parentheses even though they are not included in the barcode.
An Application Identifier (AI) is a prefix code used to denote the meaning of the data. This prefix also indicates the format of the data that follows it. There are AIs for identification, traceability, dates, quantity, measurements, locations and many other types of information. You need to know which AI’s to use for specific information.