Product ID / GTIN
GTIN stands for Global Trade Indentification Number.
You can think of our GTIN as a 14 digit UPC Code, which is exactly what it is.
No two manufacturers have the same GTIN and no two products share the same GTIN, because the numbers are issued by the GS1 Organization, the same organization that issues UPC Codes. GS1 is the artist formerly known as the UCC Council. Each GTIN is a globally unique reference assigned by the manufacturer for each of their SKUs. The EASI group uses these numbers as the common reference to identify product between trading partners.
Why do we use GTINs as a common reference? They eliminate the need for trading partners to build and maintain cross reference tables and associated systems.
That's fancy talk, so think about it with this in mind; for product "ABC" the manufacturer has a SKU number. The buyer has their own SKU number for product "ABC". If the buyer sends an order using their own SKU number, how does the manufactuer know what product they want to purchase? They wouldn't, unless they spent a lot of time and effort keeping track of what SKUs the buyer uses to identify the manufacturer's product. And when the manufacturer bills an order and uses their own SKU number, how would the buyer know what product they're being billed for? They wouldn't. Unless they also jumped through hoops. And who would determine who's sku to use on which transactions? Nightmare, right? It's even confusing to explain, even moreso to handle systematically.
With the EASI Standards both parties communicate product "ABC" using a single GTIN number. No need to guess, interpret or translate the product being referenced. In fact, all the buyers of the manufacturer's product use the GTIN assigned by the manufacturer. The manufacturer assigns GTINs to its products, the buyer enters those GTINs in their system and all EASI documents use those GTINs to identify the products. We also include those GTINs as a barcode on cartons so warehouses can scan them. (For more information on that check out our Master Carton Label standard.)
So how do I get started with GTINs?
If you're a buyer/distributor it's pretty easy, you ask the manufacturer for their GTINs. Then you put those GTINs in your system as an "alternate" reference for your SKU numbers. Your system then needs to use these "alternate" references in all the EDI documents you generate, and to read those "alternate" references in all the EDI documents you import.
If you're a manufacturer/wholesaler you first need to receive a GS1 Company Prefix. If you're a US based company you can do that by contacting the GS1 Organization:
Or follow their ten steps to bar code implementation: www.gs1.org/barcodes/implementation
They even provide an interactive course to help you: Company Prefix Course
If you want to get nerdy with GTINs here's some more information:
The actual GTIN is made up of 4 elements. Here's an example GTIN: 00707738003265
0 0707738 00326 5
The first element is the starting 0 which is the Packaging Indicator. We always use a 0.
The second element is the GS1 Company Prefix. This identifies the manufacturer. Tricky part about this is, the prefix can vary in length between 7 and 10 digits depending on how many codes the company purchased. Check this out if you're actually interested in GS1 Company Prefixes.
The third element is the Item Number. This is a sequential number the manufacturer assigns to their product/SKU. There is no built in logic to this number it just has to be unique and within the range of numbers purchased from the GS1 Organization.
The forth, and last, element in the GTIN is a Check Digit. It's used for error detection and is a single digit computed from the other digits in the GTIN. If you've made it this far and need to know how to generate the correct check digit we'll just say you don't want to do it manually. There are many systems out there that can help you do this but start by asking the GS1 Organization for help.
If you have additional questions about GTIN numbers or our use of GTIN numbers feel free to shoot us an email: EASI Support