Frequently asked questions

Yes. In industry a GTIN is more commonly known as the barcode number.

It is very important for you to understand and use the correct terminology as the GS1 General Specifications and the GS1 System of standards always refer to the barcode number as a GTIN in all their documentation.

Assess the number of products you are producing currently. For each class of product you need a unique number.

GS1 South Africa offers various options for membership. For example if you only have 5 products that you trade with, then you need to apply for a range of 10 GTINs.

This will give you extra capacity (5 GTINs) for any new products that you launch in the future.

Yes. GS1 South Africa understands that businesses often grow exponentially and their product range grows with them.

You can apply for a secondary range of numbers at any time. Keep in mind that if you already have a range of numbers where an annual license fee applies (100 to 100 000 number ranges) then you will be liable for the annual license fee for the ‘old’ number range as well as the ‘new’ secondary range.

You need to allocate a GTIN to each of your products. A GTIN is allocated to each unique product, depending on the variant, size, flavour, colour, size etc.

Keep a record of all the numbers you have allocated as GS1 South Africa does not keep track of this.

Once your GTINs have been allocated to your relevant products, you will need to take the allocation sheet to your graphic designer or printer. The GTIN is entered into a software application by the graphic designer or printer to generate the correct barcode symbol for the specific application.

Remember that there are different barcode symbols that you need to use for the various steps in the supply chain.

Different industry sectors and export markets also require different barcode symbols.

No. GS1 has a list of Accredited Alliance Partners in the printing industry. These are printers accredited by GS1 South Africa on the standards for good quality barcodes. This gives you, our member peace of mind.

Alliance Partner Directory

The barcodes used by the GS1 System have, in some cases, been specially designed for it, while others have been adapted to suit the requirements of the System’s users.

All the barcodes used by the GS1 System have a standardized data content component, which means that they can be used by any company that has adopted the GS1 System.

GS1 barcodes also have special features to ensure they are not confused with any other barcodes.

The barcodes used by GS1 include EAN-13, UPC-A, EAN-8, UPC-E, GS1 DataBar family of symbols, GS1-128, ITF-14, GS1 DataMatrix, GS1 QR Code, and Composite Component.

The first thing that you need to determine is ‘Who is going to sell your product and what is the scanning environment?’

In the table below we have identified a selection of the different barcode symbols from the GS1 System of standards as well as the application area. This will help you select the right barcode symbol for your product.
The full range of barcode symbols is available for reference in the GS1 General Specifications. Contact one of our consultants to obtain a copy.

Barcode Symbol type

EAN-13

Application area

Retail and Wholesale environments globally

  • GTIN-13 number structure
  • Omni-directional environment
  • This symbology requires an excellent print quality with an ‘A’ or ‘B’ pass grade
  • Verification of the print quality is recommended to ensure a first time scan wherever it passes through Point of Sale
  • No additional information can be encoded in this symbol

UPC-A

Retail and wholesale environments predominantly in North America

  • GTIN-12 number structure
  • Omni-directional environment
  • This symbology requires an excellent print quality with an ‘A’ or ‘B’ pass grade
  • Verification of the print quality is recommended to ensure a first time scan wherever it passes through Point of Sale
  • No additional information can be encoded in this symbol
  • South African exporters are often requested to obtain GTIN-12 numbers. If you are already a member of GS1 South Africa contact the agent in the USA/Canada and advise that you are using the globally recognized GTIN-13.

EAN-8

Retail and wholesale environments globally

  • GTIN-8 number structure that is issued by GS1 South Africa to a specific product
  • Compatible to omni-directional and hand held scanning environments
  • This symbology requires an excellent print quality with an ‘A’ or ‘B’ pass grade
  • Verification of the print quality is recommended to ensure a first time scan wherever it passes through Point of Sale
  • No additional information can be encoded in this symbol
  • The GTIN-8 is the property of the GS1 Member Organisation and is licensed by agreement and application to a specific product that is too small to handle the EAN-13 symbol. If the product is discontinued, the number reverts back to the Member Organisation.

UPC-E

Retail and wholesale environments predominantly in North America

  • GTIN-12 number structure concatenated to make an 8 digit number for small hard to mark products
  • Omni-directional and hand scanning environment
  • This symbology requires an excellent print quality with an ‘A’ or ‘B’ pass grade
  • Verification of the print quality is recommended to ensure a first time scan wherever it passes through Point of Sale
  • Verification of the print quality is recommended to ensure a first time scan wherever it passes through Point of Sale
  • No additional information can be encoded in this symbol

GS1 DataBar: Expanded Stacked

Retail

  • Used for small hard to mark products
  • Replaces the EAN-8 symbol
  • GTIN-14
  • No additional information encoded
  • By agreement with trade partners only

Contact GS1 South Africa for clear view of the image

GS1-128

Hospitals, Retail and Wholesalers

  • Applied to multi-packs, outer cases and pallets
  • Encodes a GTIN-14
  • Encodes additional information from the Application Identifier list
  • Industry specific information can be encoded for example batch/lot, expiry date, serial number. Refer to the full list of AI’s in the GS1 General Specifications
  • Limited to 48 characters
  • Mandatory in many countries as part of the logistics label (with a SSCC)

ITF-14

Hospitals, Retail and Wholesalers

  • Retail
  • Not suitable for retail Point of Sale scanning
  • Used for multi-packs, outer cases and pallets in retail and wholesale environments -predominantly in the South Africa FMCG sector
  • GTIN-14 number structure
  • Calculated on the Consumer Unit GTIN-13
  • Hand scanning environment
  • Symbology requires a lower print quality grade ‘C’
  • No additional information can be encoded in the symbol

GS1-DataMatrix

Hospitals

  • Requirement for primary and secondary level packaging
  • GTIN-14
  • Encodes additional information for example lot, expiry date, serial number
  • Image scanner is required
  • Can be laser marked, dot peened or chemically etched on medical devices

Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC)

Healthcare, Exports

  • Required for Healthcare mixed deliveries
  • Required for Exports of fresh produce on pallets
  • Logistics units only
  • Based on the GS1 Company Prefix
  • (00)Application Identifier for SSCC
  • 18 characters
  • Encodes a serial number
  • Additional capacity digit from 0-9

If you intend to, or are already trading with any or the major retailers or hospital groups within South Africa, GS1 South Africa offers a product data listing portal.

This portal is known as Datanet.za and will assist members with listing their product information in one central point for all of their trading partners.

DATAnet.za Overview

GS1 offers an interactive, fun training workshop on how to go about implementing barcoding in your business.

We have workshops in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

For members who have a range of 100 to 100 000 number range the Barcode Workshop is mandatory. For all other members there is a fee attached to training.

This workshop will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to:

  • Understand how your membership works with GS1 South Africa
  • Apply GS1 Identification numbers correctly to your products
  • Get to know the different barcode symbols that you can use
  • Understand the printing processes and print quality for the different barcode symbols
  • Not make costly mistakes when applying barcodes to your products

Book your spot at the Barcode Workshop

GS1 South Africa offers members the opportunity to book for on-site training at their offices. To get more information on the costs and requirements contact our Customer Service Centre for a quotation.

GS1 offers a barcode verification service to members at a small fee. This process will verify if your barcode printing quality is in accordance to the GS1 standards and a report will be issued detailing all the print quality compliances.

Through GEPIR, you may search who owns a barcode. The result information will display the brand owner of the GS1 Company Prefix with all their contact details.

Check ownership with GEPIR

GEPIR

For a quick bulk calculation of all your outer case or pallet GTINs, contact the GS1 South Africa Customer Service Centre. We will send you a spread sheet with all your GTIN-14’s pre-calculated.

Simple, easy and convenient.

There are guidelines that advise members when to change a GTIN.

These implementation guidelines have been developed by industry, for industry.

If certain attributes change on your product, then a new GTIN is required. An example of some of the changes that will require a new GTIN are:

  • Brand name (name of your products brand)
  • Product type (bottle water)
  • Variant (Sparkling changing to Still)
  • Pack size (340 changing to 500)
  • Pack Size Unit of Measure (Litres to Millilitres, Kilograms, Grams)
  • More than a 20% change in any dimension or weight of the product from the original date of listing.

The GS1 GTIN Allocation Rules
PDF

If you need to discuss changes to your product and you are not sure which of the GTIN Allocation Rules apply, contact our Customer Service Centre on 0861 242 000 for assistance.