What is GS1?

GS1 is a non-profit international organisation dedicated to enhancing and ensuring efficiency and visibility of the entire supply chain, globally, and across all sectors.

world drawing.jpg Comprehensive set of products, business solutions and technologies comprises the world's most widely used GS1 System standards, such as - to mention just the few most important - barcodes for the automatic identification of products, services and locations, eCom, GDSN, EPCglobal and traceability. GS1 also offers a wide range of services, such as professional education, professional training, technical support, consulting for successful implementation of GS1 System standards, certification services, verification services etc.

After almost thirty years of existence, in the beginning as EAN (European Numbering Association), thereafter under the name of EAN International, in 1997 joined by the UCC (Uniform Code Council) - a similar organisation in the North America and Canada dealing with automatic identification and EDI, the international organisation at the General Assembly session, held in May 2003, brought the decision on merging UCC and EAN International into a unique global organisation with an entirely new name: GS1 - Global Standards One - with a range of new products and services for user companies. From 2004 it acts as a truly global organisation, with offices in Brussels ( Belgium) and Princeton, New Jersey ( USA).

All national organisations (101 listed) for numbering, i.e. automatic data processing, EDI and business process enhancement, committed themselves to in the course of the following two years, at most, to complete their transition towards registration under a new name and ensure professional support for new services (such as radio frequency application for automatic identification, global data synchronisation in e-catalogues, traceability) and to extend the application of GS1 System standards to new sectors, i.e. Healthcare, Defence...

Although in the 1970's GS1 System standard was primarily applied by the retail trade, it was soon spread to a wide range of commercial and industrial sectors for identification of grocery products and books, textiles and apparel products, automobile parts, as well as many other products and services, also finding its application in new sectors: healthcare, defence etc.

National GS1 organisations act, as a rule, as entities at the state level providing their member companies with comprehensive professional support in introducing and applying GS1 System standards in a domicile language. More precisely, their competence comprises:

  • Studying GS1 System standards and relevant specifications, standards, business models and solutions, guidelines, studies, manuals and the like;
  • Designing policies, providing guidance, aligning and supervising the application of GS1 System standards in the country they are operating in;
  • Allocation of prefixes and utilisation rights of GS1 System standards to full members in compliance with the rules of the international GS1 organisation, as well as exchanging and updating data about a MO and supervision of the use GS1 identification codes in line with the rules of the international GS1 organisation;
  • Encouraging the use of GS1 system through standards for automatic identification of products, services and locations, data representation standards, EDI standards, business models and solutions at the national level, and that by organising relevant training, establishing expert committees on targeted projects, printing professional publications, organising seminars and the like;
  • Providing professional assistance to legal and physical entities, organisations and institutions concerning GS1 System standards;
  • Surveillance and security of GS1 System standard to prevent its misuse and maintain consistency;
  • Providing education for member organisations through seminars, work groups, committees and the like, as well as through professional media, thematic brochures, web sites etc;
  • Co-operation with relevant GS1 associations in the world;
  • Establishing and continuous enhancing of co-operation between strategic partners at the local and regional level, such as: GCI, ECR, ministries, chambers, offices for ISSN, ISBN, ISO etc.

Nowadays, GS1 operates in 155 countries, is used in over 20 industrial sectors, in business transactions of more than a million companies - ranging from trades and small family owned firms to multinational companies, and over 5 billion scanning transactions are executed daily.

For more information on GS1, please visit their website: www.gs1.org.