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Global Standards for Barcodes

Imagine the confusion in your corner grocery store if all of the soda cans were labeled with one type of barcode while all of the soup cans were labeled with another. Just a few short years ago, this was the case within the industrial and commercial supply channels. Every industry outside of grocery and retail had their own barcode format. And to make matters worse, products labeled in Europe and Asia most likely had to be over-labeled for sale within the United States.

Today, the GS1 (formerly two groups: UCC and EAN) barcode format that is used in grocery and retail has been adopted by most every other industry around the world. These two bodies have combined to create standard data formats for every conceivable bit of information about a product or shipment. This common business language has allowed for the growth of standard EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) transaction sets, thus lowering the cost of getting products to market. The SSC-14, the EAN-13 and the UPC-A are all members of the GS1 family of barcodes. When these numbers are represented as 14 digit numbers in a database, they are referred to as a Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN.

While this new barcode standard has been applied to many products and shipping containers, most US and Canadian based companies are not equipped to process every method of representing the GTIN. They can only use the UPC-A retail level barcode. Manufacturers that have not migrated from industry specific labeling standards are urged to adopt the GS1 labeling format.

GTIN Executive Summary

GTIN Implementation Guide

Contact RVB Systems Group today to discuss how your company can take the necessary steps to implement these global standards.