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Global Standard 1 (GS1)

GS1 US, a member of GS1®, is a non-profit information standards organization that brings industry communities together to solve supply-chain problems through the adoption and implementation of GS1 Standards. Manufacturers looking for guidance on labeling using Global Trade Item Numbers, or GTIN, go to GS1 to learn more about ways to best identify their products and to select applications of barcode technologies that best suit their needs.

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®)-enabled Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), data synchronization, and electronic information exchange. GS1 US also manages the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code® (UNSPSC®).

GS1 US leads industry initiatives, administers the GS1 System of standards, provides education and support, and connects communities through events and online forums. GS1 promotes the key concepts of “identity, capture, and share” to encourage businesses to improve traceability for the benefit of all stakeholders in the international supply chain.

GS1 is presently leading important initiatives in the areas of Retail Grocery, Foodservice, Fresh Foods, and Apparel and Consumer Goods.

GS1 Standards

A common language to identify, capture, and share information globally

GS1 Standards provide unique identification of items and products that provide the link between the item and the information pertaining to it. Think of GS1 Standards as the DNA of an item or product moving through the supply chain.

The GS1 Company Prefix

The GS1 Company Prefix is at the heart of the GS1 system of identifiers. It forms the base for a family of identifiers that are globally unique and can be used for a host of different applications.

The GS1 Company Prefix may be a little string of numbers, but it’s a huge investment in the future of your business. GS1 Company Prefixes vary in length between seven digits and eleven digits – Different length prefixes provide you with different capacities for particular types of identifiers. Below is an example of the impact of different length GS1 Company Prefixes on the capacity, or number of GTINs, that can be assigned from a single prefix.

GS1 Company Prefix Length  Enabled (Capacity)
Seven Digits


Eight Digits


Nine Digits


Ten Digits


Eleven Digits



Let’s say your company licenses a GS1 Company Prefix that allows you to build 100 GTINs (or, 100 different types of products that your company offers for sale). There is so much more that this little string of numbers can let you identify. What can you do with that same Company Prefix?

Identifiers Capacity
GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) 100 types of products you sell
GLN (Global Location Number) 100 physical locations
GRAI (Global Returnable Asset Identifier) 100 types of returnable assets
GDTI(Global Document Type Identifier) 100 types of documents
 SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code)  1,000,000 shipments of goods
 GSRN (Global Service Relationship Number)  10,000,000 service relationships
GIAI (Global Individual Asset Identifier)  10^20 (that’s a Sextillion!) individual assets

That’s a lot of power at the ready for inventory, accounting, order fulfillment, service agreements and asset management, to name just a of few business processes that benefit from clear and globally unique identifiers!

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