|What is a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number)?
The GTIN was developed to facilitate the global flow of products and services. With GTIN, products and services are uniquely identified at all levels of packaging, allowing for simplified supply chain management while employing the globally accepted and utilized EAN/UCC system whose language is understood globally.
A GTIN is used for identifying products worldwide within the EAN/UCC System. A GTIN is a 14-digit number though its bar code may contain only 12-digits (UPC), 13-digits (EAN-12) or 8-digits (EAN-8). The GTIN is defined as a 14-digit number to accommodate all the different structures, including the EAN/UCC-14 (Shipping Container Symbol).
The family of data structures (not symbologies) comprising GTIN include:
GTINs do not replace UPC numbers. Companies that currently use the UCC-12 (UPC) on their products should continue to do so and do not need a new UCC Company Prefix. GTIN is strictly a new term, and is part of the 2005 Sunrise initiative. This initiative, underway in the US and Canada, has two objectives. First, retailers must upgrade Point of Sale (POS) systems to scan and store EAN-13 symbols in addition to UPC symbols. Second, all supply chain participants are encouraged to expand the GTIN field in their databases to 14-digits to enable all forms of the GTIN. More information on GTIN and 2005 Sunrise can be found at http://www.uc-council.org/2005sunrise.
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