GS1 General Specifications

GS1 has released the latest revision of the GS1 General Specifications Version 17.  The global standards address identification and barcode marking for numerous industries. The vast majority of the retailers follow these specifications.  The Unique Device Identifier requirements for medical devices by the FDA include the identification standards of GS1 US.

Changes to the GS1 General Specifications (Version 17) are as follows:

  • Section 1 – Basics and principles of GS1 system
  • Section 2.1 – Trade item application standard
  • Section 2.2 – Logistic units application standard
  • Section 2.3 – Assets application standard
  • Section 2.4 – Location and parties application standard
  • Section 2.5 – Service relationships application standard
  • Section 2.6 – Special application standard
  • Section 3 – GS1 Application Identifier definitions
  • Section 4 – Application rules
  • Section 5 – Data carriers (technical)
  • Section 5.5 – Barcode production and quality assessment
  • Section 6 – Symbol Placement guidelines
  • Section 7 – AIDC validation rules
  • Section 8 – Glossary

To view a copy of the latest GS1 General Specification (v.17) revision, please visit Download PDF .

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  • UPC (GTIN-12)

  • ISBN/Books

  • Medical/UDI

  • Supply Chain

  • Assets/Inventory

  • Coupon

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There are a variety of different types of barcodes. However, the UPC (Universal Product Number) symbol is the most recognized barcode in the United States, since it appears on almost every retail product. The UPC symbol is the barcode representation of the GTIN-12 which consists of twelve numeric characters that uniquely identify a company’s individual product. The GTIN-12 number is part of the family of GS1 global data structures that employ 14 digits and can be encoded into various types of data carriers.

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A requirement for selling a book through booksellers, wholesalers, and distributors is the assignment of unique ISBN numbers for each title and for each book to be marked with a Bookland EAN barcode.

The Bookland symbol allows for encodation of ISBNs (the numbers publishers use to identify their products). Since an ISBN is unique to one particular title (or product), the corresponding Bookland EAN symbol is a title-specific marking which is unique for that title. For example, if a title is available in hard cover, soft cover and as an e-book, three unique ISBN Bookland EAN bar codes are required.

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The FDA UDI Mandate is part of a comprehensive healthcare traceability initiative to improve patient safety.  The Unique Device Identifier (UDI) requirement is rooted in holding each member of the supply chain responsible for ensuring each medical device is marked with a UDI barcode with data maintained on the FDA’s GUDID universal database.

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Supply Chain

Logistic barcodes such as the GS1-128 Shipping Label are used to track movement of a shipment within a supply chain.  Since suppliers are making shipments to a variety of trading partners it is essential to integrate the relevant standards and current technology.  The use of EDI and 2D barcodes which can encode much more data has transformed many supply chains.

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The first step in designing an asset tracking system is to determine whether you are working with assets or inventory.  Assets are any items a company uses internally such as tools, equipment, furniture etc.  Inventory are items which are sold, distributed or used by a company.  The distinction between Assets and Inventory is essential in regards to how the items will be marked, scanned and stored.

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The successful integration of GS1 DataBar Coupons has dramatically improved many promotions.  The interhent features including; value codes and automatic expiration date checking for retailers, has enabled more efficient redemption, much better security and better metrics to measure the performance of a campaign.

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