GTIN Data Structures

GTIN Data Structures

GTIN describes a family of GS1 (EAN.UCC) global GTIN data structures that employ 14 digits and can be encoded into various types of data carriers. Currently, GTIN is used exclusively within bar codes, but it could also be used in other data carriers such as radio frequency identification (RFID). The GTIN is only a term and does not impact any existing standards, nor does it place any additional requirements on scanning hardware. For North American companies, the UPC is an existing form of the GTIN.

The family of GTIN barcode data structures (not symbologies) include:

  • GTIN-12 (UPC-A): this is a 12-digit number used primarily in North America
  • GTIN-8 (EAN/UCC-8): this is an 8-digit number used predominately outside of North America
  • GTIN-13 (EAN/UCC-13): this is a 13-digit number used predominately outside of North America
  • GTIN-14 (EAN/UCC-14 or ITF-14): this is a 14-digit number used to identify trade items at various packaging levels

GTIN data structures

Since the inception of barcodes with the UPC more than 45 years ago, hundreds of thousands of possible number combinations have been issued as manufacturer or company prefixes. GS1 has continually changed the standards of the issuing numbers, since GS1 standards are being integrated by other industries and more companies are requiring prefixes. Due to the limitations of early technology and programming, a sunrise date was established in 2005 to prepare retailers and manufacturers for the changes. Today GTIN barcode data structures are now automatically integrated in to the database structures for retailers, manufacturers, hospitals and distributors.

GS1 is the global standards identification organization. Bar Code Graphics is the leading authority on barcode origination and print quality. Whereas GS1 provides the standards and GS1 Company Prefix licensing, Bar Code Graphics enables companies to get GTIN barcodes properly on their items and cartons. Identification Labs, a division of Bar Code Graphics, is the largest testing laboratory in North America for barcode print quality and works with many major US retailers and manufacturers.

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