Understanding GTIN: The Global Product Identifier

In today’s global marketplace, retailers and online marketplaces, such as Amazon, require a unique identifier to be assigned to every product. This identifier needs to be globally unique and adhere to a worldwide standard. For products in the United States, this identifier is known as the GTIN or Global Trade Item Number. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of GTIN and how it plays a crucial role in product identification and communication.

What is GTIN?

GTIN, which stands for Global Trade Item Number, is a unique identifier assigned to a product to facilitate its identification, capture, and communication across various supply chain processes. It is commonly represented as a UPC barcode (GTIN-12) and consists of two primary components: the U.P.C. Company Prefix and the Product Number.

The U.P.C. Company Prefix is a globally unique number assigned to a company by GS1, a global standards organization. This prefix allows the company to create their own product numbers, ensuring that each product they sell has a unique identifier. The Product Number, on the other hand, is a specific number assigned by the company to a particular product.

The Role of GS1

GS1 is the global standards organization responsible for enabling companies to identify, capture, and communicate information effectively. Their standards serve as the foundation for many industries, allowing for the creation of efficient systems and processes for data sharing.

While GS1 provides the guidelines and standards for GTIN management, they primarily license prefixes to companies through their local offices. These offices also offer educational classes to help companies understand the intricacies of GTIN management. However, they do not provide actual barcodes or direct assistance in implementing GTIN.

To obtain barcodes and implement GTIN, companies often rely on specialized barcode solution providers like Bar Code Graphics in the United States. These experts have the knowledge and expertise to assist businesses in obtaining the necessary barcodes and ensuring proper implementation of GTIN.


In a global marketplace where effective communication and identification are essential, GTIN plays a vital role. It provides a unique identifier for each product, ensuring its traceability and facilitating efficient supply chain processes. GS1 serves as the global standards organization for GTIN management, while barcode solution providers like Bar Code Graphics assist companies in obtaining barcodes and implementing GTIN effectively.

By understanding the significance of GTIN and working with the right partners, businesses can ensure compliance with industry standards and enhance their product identification and communication capabilities.