GS1 Codes, a basic explanation
GS1 is the (nonprofit) organization in charge of developing and maintaining a set of international standards to identify, capture and share data; and the GS1 codes are part of those standards. But that doesn’t make it any less abstract, does it?
What it comes down to, is that they’re in charge of a global agreement that allows businesses to give a globally unique numeric code to their products, locations, assets, you name it. These codes all have their own abbreviation such as GTIN (trade items), GLN (locations), SSCC (shipping containers) and GIAI (assets). If you’re unfamiliar with GS1, these abbreviations might be a bit intimidating and make it more difficult to wrap your head around the GS1 standard. The only advice I can offer on that is, stick with it, it’ll get easier once you’ve started using it.
On top of that the codes themselves might seem just a random assortment of numbers, but thankfully they’re not. There’s a logical structure to each code, which varies slightly per code but boils down to the following markup:
([extension digit]) [GS1 company prefix] [sequence number] [check digit].
Where the extension digit is only applicable to certain codes. I’ll illustrate with an example location code (GLN): 8719326445229:
- No extension digit.
- 87193264452 – Type2Solutions’ company prefix.
- 2 – sequence number.
- 9 – check digit.
The check digit is a specially calculated number which works as a safeguard for typing errors. The code can then be encoded in a barcode. If you want or need a more detailed explanation about codes, barcodes or check digits please view our knowledge base on palletlabel.com.