|Founded||26 April 1974|
Number of locations
|115 offices worldwide|
|Miguel A. Lopera (CEO)|
GS1 is a not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains global standards for business communication. The best known of these standards is the barcode, a symbol printed on products that can be scanned electronically. Over 100 million products carry GS1 barcodes and they are scanned more than six billion times every day.
GS1 has 115 local member organisations and over 2 million user companies.
GS1 standards, services and solutions are designed to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels in a wide variety of sectors. They form a business language that identifies, captures and shares key information about products, locations, assets and more.
In 1969, the retail industry in the US was searching for a way to speed up the check-out process in shops. The Ad Hoc Committee for a Uniform Grocery Product Identification Code was established to find a solution.
In 1973, the Universal Product Code (UPC) was selected by this group as the first single standard for unique product identification, and in 1974, the Uniform Code Council (UCC) was founded to administer the standard. On 26 June 1974, a pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum became the first ever product with a barcode to be scanned in a shop.
In 1976, the original 12-digit code was expanded to 13 digits, which opened the doors for the identification system to be used outside the U.S. In 1977, the European Article Numbering Association (EAN) was established in Brussels and with founding members from 12 countries.
In 1990, EAN and UCC signed a global cooperation agreement and expanded overall presence to 45 countries. In 1999, EAN and UCC launched the Auto-ID Centre to develop Electronic Product Code (EPC) enabling GS1 standards to be used for RFID.
By 2005, the organisation was present in over 90 countries which started to use the name GS1 on a worldwide basis. Whilst "GS1" is not an acronym it refers to the organisation offering one global system of standards.
Aug 2018 - GS1 Web URI Structure Standard is ratified allowing unique ID's to be added to products by storing a URI (a webpage-like address) as a QR code.
Barcodes defined by GS1 standards are very common. GS1 introduced the barcode in 1974. They encode a product identification number that can be scanned electronically, making it easier for products to be tracked, processed, and stored.
Barcodes improve the efficiency, safety, speed and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels. They have a crucial role in the retail industry - including today’s online marketplaces -, moving beyond just faster checkout to improved inventory and delivery management and the opportunity to sell online on a global scale. In the UK alone, the introduction of the barcode in the retail industry has resulted in savings of 10.5 billion pounds per year.
The most influential GS1 standard is the GTIN. It identifies products uniquely around the world and forms the base of the GS1 system.
Main GS1 standards are as follows:
- Application Level Events (ALE)
- Core Business Vocabulary (CBV)
- EAN/UPC barcodes
- EPC/RFID tags
- Global Data Model
- Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN)
- Global Document Type Identifier (GDTI)
- Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI)
- Global Identification Number for Consignment (GINC)
- Global Location Number (GLN)
- Global Product Classification (GPC)
- Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI)
- Global Service Relationship Number (GSRN)
- Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN)
- Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)
- GS1 DataBar
- GS1 DataMatrix
- GS1 Digital Link
- GS1 EDI
- Low-Level Reader Protocol (LLRP)
- Object Name Service (ONS)
- Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC)
GS1 standards are developed and maintained through the GS1 Global Standards Management Process (GSMP), a community-based forum that brings together representatives from different industries and businesses. Together they find and implement standards-based solutions to address common supply chain challenges.
Retail and Marketplaces
Retail was the first industry that GS1 began working with and has remained their primary focus. Today, GS1 operates in four retail sub-sectors on a global level: Apparel, Fresh Foods, CPG and General Merchandise.
Key focus areas in retail include sustainability, data quality, compliance with regulatory requirements, traceability of products from their origin through delivery, and upstream integration between manufacturers and suppliers.
As consumers continue to switch between in-store and e-commerce shopping channels, a consistent shopping experience, efficiency, safety and speed are expected. GS1 has developed standards that uniquely identify products for the benefit of consumers and for search engines, providing accurate and complete product information digitally.
Since 2005, GS1 has operated in Healthcare with the primary objective to enhance patient safety, and to drive supply chain efficiencies.
The development and implementation of GS1 standards for healthcare support the industry within traceability of products from the manufacturer to the patient, contribute to detect counterfeit products, help to prevent medication errors, enable effective recalls and support clinical processes. More than 70 countries have healthcare-related regulations or trading partner requirements where GS1 standards are being used for the above reasons as well for medicines as medical devices. Members of GS1 Healthcare include more than 140 leading healthcare organisations worldwide.
GS1 operates three other key industries globally: Transport & Logistics, Food service and Technical Industries. GS1’s 115 Member Organisations in over 115 countries around the world collectively focus on dozens of industry sectors.
GS1 has over 2 million members worldwide. Companies can become members by joining a local GS1 Member Organisation.
Governance and structure
GS1’s governance has three levels:
- First level - GS1 General Assembly, composed of representatives of all Member Organisations.
- Second level - GS1 Management Board responsible for global strategic direction (composed of key leaders from multinational businesses and GS1 Member Organisations). GS1’s management board members are individuals with senior positions in the following organisations:
- Aeon Co., Ltd
- Aeon Global Merchandising Co., Ltd
- Alibaba Group
- B. Braun Melsungen
- Beijing Hualian Group
- Consumer Goods Forum
- Dr. Oetker
- Grupo Bimbo
- Grupo Éxito
- The J.M. Smucker Company
- Johnson & Johnson
- Metro AG
- Migros Ticaret
- Procter & Gamble
- Reliance Retail
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
- Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd
- GS1 Australia
- GS1 Austria
- GS1 Canada
- GS1 China
- GS1 Egypt
- GS1 France
- GS1 Germany
- GS1 Hong Kong
- GS1 Italy
- GS1 Paraguay
- GS1 US
- Third level - GS1 Global Office and the Local GS1 Member Organisations (MOs). The GS1 Global Office leads the development and maintenance of new standards. Local MOs focus on local services and standards implementation. Local GS1 Boards are responsible for local strategic directions (composed of key leaders from national companies).
There are also two other boards at the global level:
- The GS1 Data Excellence Board (responsible for GS1’s data strategy)
- GS1 Innovation Board and EPCglobal Board of Governors (responsible for GS1 innovation and R&D activities).
GS1 Member Organisations around the world are funded by their local members through annual membership fees and sales of services.
GS1 partners with other international organisations. Some of GS1’s partners are:
- Consumer Goods Forum
- International Standards Organisation (ISO)
- United Nations
- UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- World Customs Organisation (WCO)
- International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua)
- Joint Initiative Council (JIC)
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