GS1 is a not-for-profit organisation that develops and maintains global standards for business communication. The best known of these standards is the barcode, a symbol printed on products that can be scanned electronically. GS1 barcodes are scanned more than six billion times every day.

GS1 has 112 local member organisations and 1.5 million user companies.

GS1 standards are designed to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels in 25 sectors. They form a business language that identifies, captures and shares key information about products, locations, assets and more.

Not-for-profit organisation
Founded26 April 1974
HeadquartersBrussels, Belgium
Number of locations
More than 112 offices worldwide[1]
Key people
Miguel A. Lopera (CEO)


The first product to be purchased in a store by scanning its UPC barcode.

In 1969, the retail industry in the US was searching for a way to speed up the check-out process in shops. The Ad Hoc Committee for a Uniform Grocery Product Identification Code was established to find a solution.

In 1973, the Universal Product Code (UPC) was selected by this group as the first single standard for unique product identification, and in 1974, the Uniform Code Council (UCC) was founded to administer the standard.[1] On 26 June 1974, a pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum became the first ever product with a barcode to be scanned in a shop.[1][2]

In 1976, the original 12-digit code was expanded to 13 digits, which opened the doors for the identification system to be used outside the U.S. In 1977, the European Article Numbering Association (EAN) was established in Brussels and with founding members from 12 countries.[3]

In 1990, EAN and UCC signed a global cooperation agreement and expanded overall presence to 45 countries. In 1999, EAN and UCC launched the Auto-ID Centre to develop Electronic Product Code (EPC) enabling GS1 standards to be used for RFID.[4]

In 2004, EAN and UCC launched the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN), a global, internet-based initiative that enables trading partners to efficiently exchange product master data.[3]

By 2005, the organisation was present in over 90 countries which started to use the name GS1 on a worldwide basis. Whilst "GS1" is not an acronym it refers to the organisation offering one global system of standards.[3]


The GS1 barcodes

Barcodes defined by GS1 standards are very common.[5] They encode a product identification number that can be scanned electronically, making it easier for products to be tracked, processed, and stored.

Barcodes allow for greater safety, reliability, speed and efficiency of supply chains. They have a crucial role in the retail industry, moving beyond just faster checkout to improved inventory and delivery management and the opportunity to sell online on a global scale. In the UK alone, the introduction of the barcode in the retail industry has resulted in savings of 10.5 billion pounds per year.[1][6]

Some of the barcodes that GS1 manages are: EAN/UPC (used mainly on consumer goods), GS1 Data Matrix (used mainly on healthcare products), GS1-128, GS1 DataBar, and GS1 QR Code.


The most important GS1 standard is the GTIN. It identifies products uniquely around the world and forms the base of the GS1 system.

Main GS1 standards are as follows:

Many GS1 standards are also ISO standards. For example, GTIN, GLN, SSCC.[7]

GS1 also acts as the secretariat for ISO’s Automatic identification and data capture techniques technical committee (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31).[8]

GS1 standards are developed and maintained through the GS1 Global Standards Management Process (GSMP), a community-based forum that brings together representatives from different industries and businesses. Together they find and implement standards-based solutions to address common supply chain challenges.



Retail was the first industry that GS1 began working with and has remained their primary focus. Today, GS1 operates in four retail sub-sectors on a global level: Apparel, Fresh Foods, CPG/Grocery and General Merchandise.

Key focus areas in retail include sustainability, data quality, compliance with regulatory requirements, traceability of products from their origin through delivery, and upstream integration between manufacturers and suppliers.

As consumers continue to switch between in-store and e-commerce shopping channels, a consistent shopping experience, efficiency, safety and speed are expected. GS1 has developed standards that uniquely identify products for the benefit of consumers and for search engines, providing accurate and complete product information digitally.[9]

Major e-commerce companies such as eBay, Amazon and Google Shopping require companies to use a GS1 number to sell on their websites.[10][11][12]


For many years, GS1 has operated in Healthcare with the primary objective to increase patient safety and drive supply chain efficiency.

Usage of GS1 standards in Healthcare support traceability of products from the manufacturer to the patient, contribute to detect counterfeit products, help to prevent medication errors, enable effective recalls and supports clinical processes.

Regulatory bodies across the world are mandating the implementation of GS1 standards for the above reasons as well for medicines as medical devices.[13]

Other industries

GS1 operates in four other key industries globally: Transport & Logistics, Foodservice, Technical Industries and Humanitarian Logistics. GS1’s Member Organisations in over 100 countries around the world collectively focus on over 25 industry sectors.[14]


GS1 has over 1.5 million members worldwide. Companies can become members by joining a local GS1 Member Organisation.

Governance and structure

GS1’s governance has three levels:

  • Third level - GS1 Global Office and the Local GS1 Member Organisations (MOs). The GS1 Global Office leads the development and maintenance of new standards. Local MOs focus on local services and standards implementation.

There are also two other boards at global level:

  • The GS1 Data Excellence Board (responsible for GS1’s data strategy)
  • GS1 Innovation Board (responsible for GS1 innovation and R&D activities).[14]


GS1 Member Organisations around the world are funded by their local members through annual membership fees and sales of services.


GS1 partners with other international organisations. Some of GS1’s partners are:

See also

List of GS1 country codes


  1. ^ a b c d Harford, Tim (2017-01-23). "How the barcode changed retailing and manufacturing". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  2. ^ "The History of the Bar Code". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  3. ^ a b c "Historic Timeline - GS1 40th Anniversary". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  4. ^ Anonymous (2014-12-18). "How we got here". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  5. ^ Robertson, Gordon L. (2016-04-19). Food Packaging: Principles and Practice, Third Edition. CRC Press. ISBN 9781439862421.
  6. ^ GS1UK (2013-12-10), Ever wondered what the GS1 barcode has done for you?, retrieved 2017-04-28
  7. ^ a b "Organizations in cooperation with ISO". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  8. ^ "ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31 - Automatic identification and data capture techniques". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  9. ^ Communications, Edgell. "Tackling Disruptive Forces through Industry Collaboration". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  10. ^ "Product Identifiers | eBay Seller Center". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  11. ^ "Amazon Announcement: Product UPCs and GTINs - RepricerExpress". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  12. ^ "Reach more customers online: Add GTINs to your Google Shopping data feed". Google Commerce. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  13. ^ Anonymous (2014-12-23). "Healthcare". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  14. ^ a b "GS1 Strategy". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  15. ^ "Strategic Alliances of The Consumer Goods Forum". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  16. ^ "NATO Update: NATO's Standardization Agency broadens cooperation - 31 Jan. 2006". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  17. ^ "E/2015/INF/5 - E". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  18. ^ "World Customs Organization". Retrieved 2017-04-28.

External links

2002–03 UEFA Cup

The 2002–03 UEFA Cup was the 32nd edition of the UEFA Cup, the second-tier European club football tournament organised by UEFA. The final was played between Portuguese side Porto and Scottish side Celtic at the Estadio Olímpico de Sevilla, Seville, on 21 May 2003. Porto won 3–2 through a silver goal in extra time and became the first Portuguese team to win the competition.


A barcode (also bar code) is an optical, machine-readable representation of data; the data usually describes something about the object that carries the barcode. Traditional barcodes systematically represent data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or one-dimensional (1D). Later, two-dimensional (2D) variants were developed, using rectangles, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns, called matrix codes or 2D barcodes, although they do not use bars as such. Initially, barcodes were only scanned by special optical scanners called barcode readers. Later application software became available for devices that could read images, such as smartphones with cameras.

The barcode was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver and patented in the US in 1952 (US Patent 2,612,994). The invention was based on Morse code that was extended to thin and thick bars. However, it took over twenty years before this invention became commercially successful. An early use of one type of barcode in an industrial context was sponsored by the Association of American Railroads in the late 1960s. Developed by General Telephone and Electronics (GTE) and called KarTrak ACI (Automatic Car Identification), this scheme involved placing colored stripes in various combinations on steel plates which were affixed to the sides of railroad rolling stock. Two plates were used per car, one on each side, with the arrangement of the colored stripes encoding information such as ownership, type of equipment, and identification number. The plates were read by a trackside scanner, located for instance, at the entrance to a classification yard, while the car was moving past. The project was abandoned after about ten years because the system proved unreliable after long-term use.Barcodes became commercially successful when they were used to automate supermarket checkout systems, a task for which they have become almost universal. Their use has spread to many other tasks that are generically referred to as automatic identification and data capture (AIDC). The very first scanning of the now-ubiquitous Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode was on a pack of Wrigley Company chewing gum in June 1974. QR codes, a specific type of 2D barcode, have recently become very popular.Other systems have made inroads in the AIDC market, but the simplicity, universality and low cost of barcodes has limited the role of these other systems, particularly before technologies such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) became available after 2000.

Check digit

A check digit is a form of redundancy check used for error detection on identification numbers, such as bank account numbers, which are used in an application where they will at least sometimes be input manually. It is analogous to a binary parity bit used to check for errors in computer-generated data. It consists of one or more digits computed by an algorithm from the other digits (or letters) in the sequence input.

With a check digit, one can detect simple errors in the input of a series of characters (usually digits) such as a single mistyped digit or some permutations of two successive digits.


EPCglobal is a joint venture between GS1 (formerly known as EAN International) and GS1 US (formerly the Uniform Code Council, Inc.). It is an organization set up to achieve worldwide adoption and standardization of Electronic Product Code (EPC) technology.

The main focus of the group currently is to create both a worldwide standard for RFID and the use of the Internet to share data via the EPCglobal Network.


The GS1 GEPIR (Global Electronic Party Information Register) is a distributed database that contains basic information on over 1,000,000 companies in over 100 countries.

GEPIR is publicly available at no cost, but limits the number of requests per/day from an IP to 30. GS1 offers a similar paid service, the GS1 Data Hub, which provides additional capabilities without the traffic limitations imposed by GEPIR.


GS1-128 is an application standard of the GS1 implementation using the Code 128 barcode specification. The former correct name was UCC/EAN-128. Other no longer used names have included UCC-128 and EAN-128. The GS1-128 standard was introduced in 1989 and uses a series of Application Identifiers to include additional data such as best before dates, batch numbers, quantities, weights and many other attributes needed by the user.

GS1 DataBar

GS1 DataBar is a family of symbols most commonly seen in the GS1 DataBar Coupon. Formerly known as Reduced Space Symbology (RSS-14), this family of barcodes include:

Symbols intended for retail point of sale scanning:

GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional

GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional

GS1 DataBar Expanded

GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked

Symbols that are not intended for retail Point-of-Sale scanning:

GS1 DataBar Truncated

GS1 DataBar Limited

GS1 DataBar StackedAll GS1 DataBar barcodes encode a GTIN-12 or GTIN-13 in a 14-digit data structure. In order to make the GTIN-12 or GTIN-13 a 14-digit data structure, a leading zero or zeros is filled to the left of the GTIN. GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional, GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional, GS1 DataBar Expanded, and GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked have omnidirectional scanning capability. GS1 DataBar Truncated, GS1 DataBar Stacked and GS1 DataBar Limited can only be scanned by a linear hand held or imaging scanning device: they cannot be scanned by omnidirectional scanners and are intended to be read by handheld scanners.

GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional is designed to condense the GTIN information into a more compact and square barcode suitable for use on smaller packages (such as the label stickers on fresh produce).

GS1 DataBar Limited, GS1 DataBar Stacked and GS1 DataBar Truncated are designed for very small item identification and are mainly used in the healthcare industry. Each encodes a GTIN-12 or GTIN-13 in 14-digit data structure. Only GS1 DataBar Limited uses an indicator digit 1.

In addition to encoding Application Identifier (01) GTIN, GS1 DataBar Expanded and GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked can encode additional GS1 Application Identifiers such as sell-by date, weight, and lot number. Each symbol has a capacity of up to 74 characters. These attributes can help in controlling shrinkage, optimizing product replenishment, and improving the traceability of a product at the point of sale. They are seeing increased use in manufacturers' coupons. Starting June 2011, GS1 Databar use is mandated for coupons and the use of UPC-A must be discontinued.The symbology is formally defined as ISO/IEC 24724:2006.

The name was changed from RSS to GS1 DataBar due to the potential for confusion with Really Simple Syndication.


GS1 EDI is a set of global electronic messaging standards for business documents used in Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The standards are developed and maintained by GS1. GS1 EDI is part of the overall GS1 system, fully integrated with other GS1 standards, increasing the speed and accuracy of the supply chain.

Examples of GS1 EDI standards include messages such as: Order, Despatch Advice (Shipping Notice), Invoice, Transport Instruction, etc.

The development and maintenance of all GS1 standards is based on a rigorous process called the Global Standard Management Process (GSMP). GS1 develops its global supply chain standards in partnership with the industries using them. Any organization can submit a request to modify the standard. Maintenance releases of GS1 EDI standards are typically published every two years, while code lists can be updated up to 4 times a year.


GS1 US, a member of GS1, is an information standards organization that brings industry communities together to solve supply chain problems through the adoption and implementation of GS1 Standards. GS1 Standards are the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world. The barcode (an example of a GS1 Standard) is scanned more than 6 billion times a day globally. The GS1 System of Standards provides for accurate identification and communication of information regarding products, assets, services and locations.

Formerly known as the Uniform Code Council or UCC prior to 2005, GS1 US is responsible for managing the GS1 System of Standards in the USA. More than 300,000 businesses in 25 industries rely on GS1 US for trading partner collaboration and for maximizing the cost effectiveness, speed, visibility, security and sustainability of their business processes. They achieve these benefits through solutions based on GS1 global unique numbering and identification systems, barcodes, Electronic Product Code (EPC)-based radio-frequency identification (RFID), data synchronization, and electronic information exchange. GS1 US also manages the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC).

Supply chain standards play a very important role in day-to-day business operations:

They reduce complexity between and within organizations.

They facilitate collaboration between trading partners in the supply chain, making it quicker and easier to identify items, share information (like order quantities, availability, or specific characteristics), order and receive parts or ingredients from suppliers, and/or ship goods to customers.

They help improve patient safety and reduce medication errors.

They enable traceability and authentication.

They improve supply chain and business process efficiency.GS1 US facilitates open collaboration with industry leaders to establish best practices for driving supply chain and ecommerce efficiencies. Through GS1 US industry initiatives, the organization helps key industries identify a problem or opportunity that can be addressed through the application of GS1 Standards. Working together, the industry defines its goals and creates adoption plans. GS1 US then supports implementation by individual companies with resources, including guidelines, tools, readiness programs, and education.

Global Location Number

The Global Location Number (GLN) is part of the GS1 systems of standards. It is a simple tool used to identify a location and can identify locations uniquely where required. This identifier is compliant with norm ISO/IEC 6523.

The GS1 Identification Key is used to identify physical locations or legal entities. The key comprises a GS1 Company Prefix, Location Reference, and Check Digit.

Location identified with GLN could be a physical location such as a warehouse or a legal entity such as a company or customer or a function that takes place within a legal entity. It can also be used to identify something as specific as a particular shelf in a store. Being able to identify locations with a unique number is a key to many business processes. The GLN is used in electronic messaging between customers and suppliers, where location advice is important. GLN is also used within companies to identify specific locations both electronically in a database and physically where the GLN can be produced in a bar code or GS1 EPC tag.

Global Trade Item Number

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is an identifier for trade items, developed by GS1. Such identifiers are used to look up product information in a database (often by entering the number through a barcode scanner pointed at an actual product) which may belong to a retailer, manufacturer, collector, researcher, or other entity. The uniqueness and universality of the identifier is useful in establishing which product in one database corresponds to which product in another database, especially across organizational boundaries.

The GTIN standard has incorporated the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), International Standard Music Number (ISMN), International Article Number (which includes the European Article Number and Japanese Article Number) and some Universal Product Codes (UPCs), into a universal number space.

GTINs may be 8, 12, 13 or 14 digits long, and each of these four numbering structures are constructed in a similar fashion, combining Company Prefix, Item Reference and a calculated Check Digit (GTIN-14 adds another component- the Indicator Digit, which can be 1-8). GTIN-8s will be encoded in an EAN-8 barcode. GTIN-12s may be shown in UPC-A, ITF-14, or GS1-128 barcodes. GTIN-13s may be encoded in EAN-13, ITF-14 or GS1-128 barcodes, and GTIN-14s may be encoded in ITF-14 or GS1-128 barcodes. The choice of barcode will depend on the application; for example, items to be sold at a retail establishment could be marked with EAN-8, EAN-13, UPC-A or UPC-E barcodes.

The EAN-8 code is an eight-digit barcode used usually for very small articles, such as chewing gum, where fitting a larger code onto the item would be difficult. Note: the equivalent UPC small format barcode, UPC-E, encodes a GTIN-12 with a special Company Prefix that allows for "zero suppression" of four zeros in the GTIN-12. The GS1 encoding and decoding rules state that the entire GTIN-12 is used for encoding and that the entire GTIN-12 is to be delivered when scanned.

ISO/IEC 6523

ISO/IEC 6523 Information technology – Structure for the identification of organizations and organization parts is an international standard that defines a structure for uniquely identifying organizations and parts thereof in computer data interchange and specifies the registration procedure to obtain an International Code Designator (ICD) value for an identification scheme.

The standard consists of two parts:

Part 1: Identification of organization identification schemes defines a structure for the identification of organizations and parts thereof. The components of this structure are the following:

an International Code Designator (ICD) value, which uniquely identifies the authority which issued the code to the organization, up to 4 digits

an organization identifier, up to a maximum of 35 characters

an (optional) organization part identifier (OPI), up to a maximum of 35 characters (An organization part can be any kind of entity within an organization.)

an (optional) OPI source indicator, 1 digit, specifying who attributed the OPIPart 2: Registration of organization identification schemes defines the registration procedure for ICD values. This includes:

the registration authority for ICD values is Farance Inc. on behalf of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

the specific procedures for the allocation and deletion of ICD values

the contents of the register/list of the registered identification schemes(A list of allocated ICD values is available here. An up-to-date list may also be acquired by contacting the registration authority.)

Further information concerning ISO/IEC 6523 and on how to obtain an ICD value can be found here.

ISO/IEC 6523 forms the basis of OSI naming under ISO/IEC 8348. It also forms the 1.3 object identifier (OID) tree.

The most widespread standard compliant with ISO 6523 norm is the identifier called "Global Location Number" (GLN), developed by GS1 company members. In B2B exchanges, it is widely used by companies to identify locations or functions within a location (for example : a factory, the accounting department of a company, an administration, a warehouse, a delivery address, ...). It has become a key to exchange business messages (orders, invoices, ...) using UN/EDIFACT specifications.

The ebCore Party Id Type Technical Specification was issued by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). It was elaborated by the OASIS ebXML Core Technical Committee and it specifies a Uniform Resource Name (URN) namespace for organization identifiers. It bases upon ISO/IEC 6523, ISO 9735 and ISO 20022.


ITF-14 is the GS1 implementation of an Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF) bar code to encode a Global Trade Item Number. ITF-14 symbols are generally used on packaging levels of a product, such as a case box of 24 cans of soup. The ITF-14 will always encode 14 digits.

The GS1 GEPIR tool can be used to find out the company identification for a given GTIN-14 that is encoded in an ITF-14 Symbol.

The thick black border around the symbol is called the Bearer Bar. The purpose of a Bearer Bar is to equalise the pressure exerted by the printing plate over the entire surface of the symbol, and to enhance reading reliability by helping to reduce the probability of misreads

or short scans that may occur when the scanner is held to a bar code at too large an angle. Such instances of skewed scanning cause the scanning beam to enter or exit the bar code symbol through the Bearer Bar at its top or bottom edge, forcing the scanner to detect an invalid scan since Bearer Bars are much wider than a legitimate black bar.

International Article Number

The International Article Number (also known as European Article Number or EAN) is a standard describing a barcode symbology and numbering system used in global trade to identify a specific retail product type, in a specific packaging configuration, from a specific manufacturer. The standard has been subsumed in the Global Trade Item Number standard from the GS1 organization; the same numbers can be referred to as GTINs and can be encoded in other barcode symbologies defined by GS1. EAN barcodes are used worldwide for lookup at retail point of sale, but can also be used as numbers for other purposes such as wholesale ordering or accounting.

The most commonly used EAN standard is the thirteen-digit EAN-13, a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC-A) standard developed in 1970 by George J. Laurer. An EAN-13 number includes a 3-digit GS1 prefix (indicating country of registration or special type of product). A prefix with a first digit of "0" indicates a 12-digit UPC-A code follows. A prefix with first two digits of "45" or "49" indicates a Japanese Article Number (JAN) follows.

The less commonly used 8-digit EAN-8 barcode was introduced for use on small packages, where EAN-13 would be too large. 2-digit EAN-2 and 5-digit EAN-5 are supplemental barcodes, placed on the right-hand side of EAN-13 or UPC. These are generally used for periodicals like magazines or books, to indicate the current year's issue number; and weighed products like food, to indicate the manufacturer's suggested retail price.

List of GS1 country codes

This is a list of country codes used by GS1.

Source: GS1 company prefix

[m] defined by GS1 Member Organisations

Prefixes not listed above are reserved by GS1 Global Office for allocations in non-member countries and for future use. Prefixes used in non-member countries and reserved by GS1 for future use are:

381, 382, 384, 386 & 388



472 & 473




532–534 & 536–538




591–593 & 595–598

602 & 605–607

610, 612, 614 & 617

630 - 639




751–753 & 756–758

772, 774 & 776

781–783, 785, 787 & 788



861–864 & 866

881–883, 886, 887 & 889

891, 892, 894, 895, 897 & 898


952–954, 956, 957 & 959



Universal Product Code

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a barcode symbology that is widely used in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, in Europe and other countries for tracking trade items in stores.

UPC (technically refers to UPC-A) consists of 12 numeric digits that are uniquely assigned to each trade item. Along with the related EAN barcode, the UPC is the barcode mainly used for scanning of trade items at the point of sale, per GS1 specifications. UPC data structures are a component of GTINs and follow the global GS1 specification, which is based on international standards. But some retailers (clothing, furniture) do not use the GS1 system (rather other barcode symbologies or article number systems). On the other hand, some retailers use the EAN/UPC barcode symbology, but without using a GTIN (for products sold in their own stores only).

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