GS1 International

Focused on leveraging global EDI B2B solutions to harmonise the value chain in all industrial sectors

The role of GS1 in EDI

GS1 is a non-profit business association whose objectives are focused on leveraging global solutions to harmonise the value chain in all industrial sectors. It was established in 2005 from the merger of EAN (European Article Number) and UCC (Uniform Code Council).

GS1 has national divisions in nearly all the countries of the world so it can more efficiently manage the business reality and market in each country.

Its main aim is to enhance business process efficiency by standardising product identification codes.

With regards electronic data interchange, GS1 is one of the most important organisations handling and developing product coding standards and symbols. This gives the market a common language for selling and supplying products around the world. The data travels in commercial documentation (invoices, orders, despatch notices, etc.) and is vital to ensuring the correct operation of provisioning processes.

GS1 in Europe

In Europe, the GS1 network is formed of 47 countries sharing good practices to improve the value chain. Globally, there are 108 organisations in 150 countries.

The European network comprises taskforces and experts dedicated to analysing processes and developing cross-border interoperability.

GS1 initiatives must also comply with European regulations across the continent.


GS1 manages various coding types

What are global standards?

Message standards are regulated structures of widespread application in a sector. They can be used by any type and size of enterprise.

Standards simplify business processes and facilitate the way that information is shared between enterprises and with end consumers around the world.

A direct benefit of applying product coding and symbol standards is the cost saving for supply chain stakeholders who can work in a unified and systematic fashion.

Principle of non-ambiguity

All GS1 regulations are based on the principle of non-ambiguity which establishes that each item variant must have a unique code that identifies it, so long as the variation is obvious and meaningful to any stakeholder in the supply chain, principally the consumer.

The correct use of GS1 product ID standards is today a basic need for the correct, fluid and error-free operation of information exchanges between companies, making it possible to quickly recognise an item in a unique way and at an international level.

Competitive edges in the logistics and retail industries

In the supply chain, fluid communication between all stakeholders is key to products reaching end consumers in due time and form.

The use of barcodes and standardised information makes product identification and subsequent distribution clear, secure and fast.

Standards make it possible to pinpoint goods movements and know their location and status at any time.


Patient identification in the health system

The use of GS1 standards is also making headway in the health industry as they boost patient safety and deliver enhanced traceability from medical device manufacturer to end patient. It is what occurs in the NHS e-Procurement System that deploy the use of GS1 standards.

Standards are implemented across all stages of the supply chain, from manufacturers to wholesalers, hospitals, pharmacies, logistics operators, public organisations and patients.

Identification systems provide them with knowledge at all times.