The Global Trade Item Number – GTIN – is a family of data structures supported by GS1 that are used to identify items, cartons, and pallets throughout the supply chain. These data structures consist of up to 14 digits that are encoded in a number of different bar codes – EAN/UPC - being the most familiar. The GS1 GTIN structure for shipping cartons can be encoded either in ITF-14 (Interleaved 2-of-5) or a GS1-128 bar code. For more information on GS1 GTIN’s see www.gs1.org.
Walking through any large retailer distribution center will highlight the problem – many of the GS1 GTIN bar codes printed on shipping cartons do not conform to printing standards. By having non-compliant GS1 GTIN bar codes in the supply chain both CPGs and retailers lose. The CPG’s lose because they are spending a lot of money on GS1 GTIN compliance with no return and both lose because of the lack of information regarding location, inventory levels, and consumption of products throughout the supply chain.