What happens to a product’s UPC when there is a change?

Product and packaging changes are very common. Aside from adding new colors and size assortments, companies routinely make changes to product configurations and packaging text. There are detailed and explicit rules dictating when a new GTIN (UPC) barcode is required. Aside from the 528-page GS1 General Specifications, the GS1 GTIN Management Standard provides guidance when a change is made to a product in a way that is relevant to consumers.

The GTIN Management standard is comprised of 10 overall rules and 3 guiding principles:

  • Is a consumer expected to distinguish the changed or new product from previous/current products?
  • Is there a regulatory/liability disclosure requirement to the consumer or trading partner?
  • Is there a substantial impact on the supply chain (i.e. how a product is shipped or received)?

Solutions for GS1 Members

BCG GS1 Barcode Support Programs

Every year, thousands of companies rely on our GS1 Barcode Support programs and personal consultants to oversee and assist with their item and carton identification. Most companies DO NOT have trained GS1 trained employees on staff or a dedicated team, so they rely on our GS1 Barcode Consultants to ensure that their GTINs are correctly assigned and the corresponding barcode is compliant for the application. In addition to ongoing support by a dedicated consultant, credit is provided for digital barcodes, printed labels, or barcode testing.

Questions involving product changes are very common and our GS1 Barcode Consultants are available to educate clients when new GTINs (UPCs) need to be assigned.

Select the total number of items available with your GS1 Prefix

Number of Items Length of Existing UPC Prefix GS1 Support Fee
1 -10 10-digit $150 SELECT
1 – 100 9-digit $250 SELECT
1 – 1,000 8-digit $1,000 SELECT
1 – 10,000 7-digit $2,000 SELECT
1 – 100,000 6-digit $2,500 SELECT
For assistance call (800)662-0701 x250. If you do not already have a GS1 Prefix, click here.

GS1 Foundations Virtual Certificate Course ($525 per seat)

For companies who wish to manage GTIN-UPC barcode in-house, GS1 provides online classes empowering companies to:

  • Eliminate product returns resulting from inaccurate product data.
  • Reduce barcode scanning errors at checkout that result in unsold products.
  • Better manage product changes using proper Global Trade Item Number (GTIN®) management.
  • Understand when new GTINs are necessary and how to assign carton GTINs.
  • Improve supply chain visibility with proper usage of Application Identifiers (AIs) and Global Location Numbers (GLNs).

Most new companies utilize the GS1 Barcode Service when first obtaining their Company Prefixes and GTINs. They want to get UPC barcodes on their products and the GS1 Barcode Service provides both the necessary personal support and digital barcodes. Rather than subscribing to GS1 Barcode Support programs (below), the GS1 Foundational course is an option for in-house management. To learn more, click here.

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