GS1 Blogs

If you’re looking to print the perfect barcode, allocate a new GTIN to a product or calculate your check digit, our hub of GS1 approved ‘How To’ guides help answer an array of barcoding questions, each with a downloadable handbook to refer back to. If you’re still unsure or you’ve got a question that isn’t covered here, get in touch and our team of barcode labelling experts will be able to help.

Issue

A Global Location Number (GLN) is a unique number that is assigned to locations to enable them to be identified uniquely worldwide. These GLNs can be used to identify any legal, physical and functional locations. GLNs are reference keys to computer files where information about the company or location can be found. The GLNs replace the names and addresses of locations and are particularly useful when automating processes; they allow computers to route information to the correct destination with no manual involvement. GLNs must be used when identifying locations and trading partners within Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) business messages and data pools, and they can also be used in barcodes to identify a physical location or to provide relevant information for delivery or invoicing purposes.

Advice

GLNs can be used to identify any locations that you need to be uniquely identified for administrative and trading purposes. These can be both internal locations, and locations that your trading partners will use. GLNs provide a single method for location identification for all companies in the supply chain, thereby removing the unnecessary costs and errors inevitable when many different schemes co-exist. GLNs can:
  • Enable the unique and unambiguous identification of all worldwide locations
  • Be allocated to any location in the supply chain
  • Be shown in GS1-128 barcodes
  • Be used within electronic business messages, and to identify all the parties using data pools
  • Facilitate accurate and automatic processing
  • Simplify data processing and reduce transmission costs and data storage costs for messages
Download the GS1 How To Guide to discover more.

Issue

Accurate product data is an essential component of a visible, secure, and sustainable supply chain – yet research has shown that 80 per cent of professionals have little idea how to measure the products they sell.

Advice

Without a recognised, uniform methodology for measuring products, it is obvious that there will be discrepancies from company to company. After all, how would trading partners know that they had both identified the same depth for an item? How would a retailer and a brand know if they are even using the same system to measure a product? It is for this reason that GS1 created their package measurement rules as a guide for all trading partners wishing to exchange data about product package measurements. They provide a common procedure for all and are intended to ensure global compatibility.

Download the GS1 How To Guide to discover more.

Issue

All Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) and Global Location Numbers (GLNs) end with a computer-generated check digit. This digit is the result of an algorithm (called the Modulo-10 algorithm) which uses the other numbers in the GTIN or GLN to ensure its correct composition.

Advice

When you look at My Numberbank you may think that the numbers are not in sequence. This is because the last digit is a check digit based on this calculation. The preceding digits are all in sequence. There is a useful online check digit calculator available at www.gs1uk.org and the calculator is in the Tools & Resources menu, but if you want to understand how the check digit is calculated then download the GS1 How To Guide to discover more.

Issue

A product whose price is dependent on a measurement which can constantly change can’t be identified by a standard fixed measure Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). Instead we have a standard national structure across retail, which has its own reserved prefixes. These prefixes mean that systems can be programmed to pick out the information necessary to calculate the price at a consumer level, or measurement information at a traded level.

Advice

A variable measure retail trade item is defined as an item whose price is continuously dependent on a measurement, e.g. its weight. Products that are divided into measurement bands and priced in steps according to the band into which they fall are NOT included. In this case each band should be allocated a standard fixed measure GTIN. Products that are commonly sold by weight or measurement include fish, fruit, cheese, vegetables, deli goods, carpets, timber and fabrics. There are two ways of identifying variable measure items; Download the GS1 How To Guide to discover more.

Issue

Using logistics labels to track pallets and other logistic units is an effective and essential part of supply chain management. Within the label, the SSCC is a unique serial number that is used to identify each individual pallet. GS1 logistics labels enable you to present information in a standard format that is recognised internationally. It uses GS1-128 barcodes to represent the SSCC for a pallet as well as certain types of information about the contents of a logistics unit. These labels can also be used on any units that are transported between companies. For example, drums of chemicals, rolls of fabric or paper, pallets of raw materials, part pallets, or individual traded units.

Advice

The SSCC provides a single way of uniquely identifying logistics units to make it simpler to track and trace products through the supply chain. You can also use GS1 standards to provide information about the contents of each logistics unit, which can be used in any trade and industry sector. The benefits of using SSCCs and the GS1 logistics label include:
  • One label that’s used throughout the supply chain
  • Improved control procedures in warehousing and distribution
  • Unique identification for standard and non-standard pallets
  • A consistent link with electronic data interchange (EDI) business messages
  • Minimised labelling costs through the use of an international standard
  • Automation and efficient handling of transport units and their contents
  • Increased speed of processing deliveries
  • Improved matching of deliveries against invoices
Download the GS1 How To Guide to discover more.

Issue

This quick guide helps you to improve the quality of barcode images on your packaging and products (consumer level). It can also be applied to outer packaging (traded level). It takes you through the best approach to solving your barcode image issues when they occur during the validation of your artwork or verification of your final product.

Advice

Getting the dimensions of your barcodes correct, the data encoded and suitable colour use in design are all important first steps. When creating your barcode at the design stage, we recommend you check our Barcoding – getting it right guide at www.gs1uk.org/support or download the GS1 How To Guide to discover more.

Issue

Moving from barcoding your products to barcoding your cases or outer packaging can be confusing. You may have been requested by a new trading partner to start barcoding your cases in order for them to track and trace them throughout their supply chain. Cases are also referred to as ‘traded units’, ‘outer cases’ or ‘trade item groupings’ but these are all the same thing.

Advice

You have a few options when choosing the barcodes for your cases, all of these use the Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) we licence to you. It is important to make sure you choose the right one, depending on where they will be used and the product that they contain. Products may carry barcodes consisting of 8, 12 or 13 digits, which can be scanned at the point of sale. If cases of your product, for example, 6 bottles of fizzy drink, are to be sold in-store and scanned at the point of sale, then they will require a separate barcode to the individual product to enable the retailers system to tell the two apart. These are shown on the product using EAN or UPC formats. Cases not scanned at the point of sale may feature barcodes that are longer using GTIN-14s and, in some instances, include information such as expiry dates encoded within them. These are shown in ITF or GS1 128 formats. Download the GS1 How To Guide to discover more.

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