In an event where the supplier does not have the assigned GS1 coding unit which is the number necessary to create a valid GS1 number, they must apply to GS1 Poland or any other appropriate GS1 unit depending on their location of registration, with a request to obtain such a number.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CODE-128 SYMBOLOGY
Code-128 symbology is used to create GS1-128 barcodes as described below. GS1-128 codes are a specific type of Code-128 codes. There are three subsets defined in Code-128: Set A, Set B, Set C. Sets A and B are intended for storing data other than purely numerical. In addition to numbers, they contain letters and other ASCII characters such as ‘@’, ‘/’, or ‘%’. Set C is intended for coding digits. To be more precise, it codes pairs of digits, hence it has a 100 ‘characters’, each of which codes a pair of digits such as 00, 01, 02, …, 99. Of the sets available for Code-128 Set C provides the best data compression, which results in a reduction of the code in length. The disadvantage of this character set is that you can only encode digit strings. Due to high data density, it is recommended to use set C where possible. For application identifiers that can store numeric or alphanumeric values, such as the production batch number or AI (10), it is suggested to consider a format which only contains numbers. This will provide more data packing, which in turn potentially increases the size of the symbol module.
GS1-128 BARCODE CHARACTERISTICS
- Barcodes placed on labels should be made using the GS1-128 specification. The former name for this specification is EAN-128.
- The total length of a single barcode symbol may not exceed the maximum value of 165 mm. Depending on the encoded data, the variable length of the code may be shorter or equal to this value. The additional width is the width of the label including the margins.
- The maximum number of characters in a single barcode symbol cannot exceed 48.
- The minimum height of a barcode symbol should be equal to the greater value of 5,0 mm or 15% of the code width. For GS1 logistic labels, the recommended height of the barcode symbol is 32mm.
- The GS1-128 barcode symbol must contain the so-called ‘double start character’ at the beginning of each barcode. This character consists of the following characters; Start A; B or C and the character FNC1 in succession. This is a prerequisite for recognising the code as a GS1-128 code.
- In the case of an application identifier whose data may have variable length, unless it is placed at the end of the barcode symbol, it is required to place an additional FNC1 character (acting as a limiter/separator) right after the data of this identifier. If the application identifier is placed at the end of the barcode, the separator character should not be used.
- The FNC1 symbol in the GS1-128 barcode has two functions. Firstly, it specifies that it is a GS1-128 barcode if it appears at the beginning of the code. Secondly, it is used as a variable-length data separator if it appears at the end of the data for a variable-length field which can be concluded from point 6.
- The code should be printed with sufficient contrast.
- The ‘X’ dimension of the bar code symbol or width of the narrowest element, should be between 0.495mm – 0.94 mm.
- Before the first and last line of the barcode symbol, there should be a sufficiently wide ‘quiet zone’ (white margin) with a width of at least 10* ‘X’.
- Under each barcode symbol, there should be a clear, textual representation of the code, with the AI numbers placed in brackets (‘()’) to increase legibility. Brackets from the AI numbers are not encoded in the barcode and only serve to improve the legibility of the code’s textual representation. Example: In a textual representation ‘(11)090101’ should be coded in a barcode as ‘11090101’.
- Barcode symbols should be printed parallel to the bottom of the label.
INDICATIONS REGARDING LOGISTIC LABELS
The label is divided into three parts: first (upper), middle (second) and third (lower). The content of parts two and three is subject to standardisation and verification. The content of the first part is not verified for compliance with GS1. The second part contains a textual interpretation of the data contained in barcodes together with the relevant data titles (headers). Data titles must be in English. An additional character in another language such as Polish, for example, is optional. Font height for data should not be less than 7mm. Barcodes should be placed together with their text representation, also known as the Human Readable Text (HRT) in the third part. The recommended width of a three-part logistic label is 148mm. For a logistic label containing only an SSCC number, a label width of 105mm is allowed. The length of the label can be changed. Typically, if you need to encode more data, it is recommended to use an A5 (148mm x 210mm) label.
EXAMPLE OF A LOGISTICS LABEL
The following example of a logistic label could be used for labelling pallets (logistic units) with homogeneous content (generically homogeneous grouping)identified by GTIN numbers. As the pallet is grouping, the typical in such situation AI (00) (compulsory), (02), (37), a production batch number recorded in the AI (10), information on the maximum date of durability in the AI (17) and information about the purchase order number for which the unit was created has been added.
INDICATIONS FOR COMMERCIAL UNIT LABELS
General rules regarding barcode symbols placed on trade unit labels are in line with the requirements presented for logistic units. The code specification should be GS1–128 (FNC1 directly after the ‘Start’ symbol). The code symbol should contain application identifiers. In indicated cases, it is necessary to use the FNC1 sign as a separator. The dimensions and content of a trade item label are not subject to such strict standardisation as in case of logistic labels. This type of label is usually smaller (A6 or A7) but another size can also be chosen. The smaller dimensions of the label are generally dictated by smaller dimensions of the labelled trade items and a smaller amount of data placed on the label. Smaller label sizes may also be supported by economic considerations such as at the expense of buying a barcode printer, label, etc. It is recommended that a label should be divided into three parts:
- First one containing an optional logo and company address;
- Second containing a textual interpretation of the data contained in barcodes;
- Third actually containing barcodes.
Here is an example of the contents of a label for a trade item: Parameter name Description 1. Item and index (code) index of an item. 2. Commodity name Commodity name. 3. Type of packaging and unit of code measure such as kg (kilogram), CARTON, BAG, ART, etc. 4. GTIN required field contains a 14 digit GTIN. For the trade item label not including SSCC it must appear together with AI (01). If AI (01) begins with ‘9’, it means a variable amount such as mass variable – see next point. 5. Variable quantity applies only to units with variable quantity (e.g. foil roll, a variable amount of kg, netto). It occurs in the form of AI from the AI (30) family, AI (3xxy), where ‘xx’ specifies the dimension (unit of measure) and ‘y’ specifies the precision (decimal point position) and is in the range 0 – 6. In the example label described later, this is AI (3100) denoting the net weight in kilograms (no decimal points). It must appear in conjunction with the AI(01) and GTIN starting with the number “9” 6. Lot number If used must come from the AI(10). 7. If the date of production is used, it must come from the AI(11). 8. Expiration date (maximum expiry date), if used, it must be taken from the AI (17).
It can be e.g. a single roll of foil. In addition, it is assumed that each roll may have a different net weight expressed in kilograms. Because we are dealing with a variable roll mass in this case, the GTIN number (AI (01)) is assigned to the ‘virtual’ 1kg unit, and must therefore also start with the number “9”. The format should be as follows: 9xxxxxxxxxxxxK (95901234567896). Note: The data contained in the above examples, including the GTINs, contents, batch numbers, indexes, dates and others, is for illustrative purposes only and is not associated with any existing trade items. Note: The barcodes contained in the examples presented may be illegible and are only a complementary element to the graphic form of the labels described.
CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMON APPLICATION IDENTIFIERS (IZ)
SSCC NUMBER AI (00) SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code)- is a globally unique number of a given logistics unit. The SSCC number is used to label logistics units (pallets). This digital number is .18 and provides a unique identification of the logistic unit at a global range.
SSCC consists (in order) of the following:
Complementary digit (any digit from 0 – 8 – typically), the palette maker is responsible for it. The digit increases the pool of available SSCC numbers by one order of magnitude, it is recommended to start with the digit 0;
National organisation prefix (as per GTIN code);
Coding unit number (as per GTIN code);
Consecutive number (consecutive number of the logistic unit, pallet);
An example SSCC number (for the coding unit number as in the example for GTIN): 059006350000000015 where: 0 – supplementary digit, 590, is the prefix, 0635 – coding unit number (example!), 000000001 – the sequence number of the logistics unit (e.g. pallets), 5 – control digit. The SSCC number is always placed on the logistic label with the application identifier AI (00). The above SSCC will be encoded in a barcode (from AI (00)) as 00059006350000000015 GTIN NUMBER – AI (01) OR AI (02) GTIN ™ (Global Trade Item Number). GTIN is used to identify trade items/packaging. Placed on a logistic label it should always have 14 digits. If it contains fewer digits (this may be the case for its popular shorter variants GTIN-13, GTIN-12, GTIN-8), then it is supplemented with zeros on the left. The number consists (in order) of the following:
- GS1 national organisation prefix (590 for the numbers of coding units registered in GS1 Poland);
- Coding unit number (number from the pool given to the supplier individually);
- Serial number (serial number of the assortment);
- Control digit.
An example of a GTIN-13: 5900635000046 where: 590, prefix, 0635 – coding unit number (example!), 00004 – serial number of the trade unit (packaging), 6 – control digit.
The GTIN is placed on the logistic label with the application identifier AI (01) or (02) depending on the type of pallet. The above GTIN-13 will be encoded in the barcode (from AI (01)) as 0105900635000046. AI(02) is used to identify the content of logistic units that are homogeneous in type (by the grouping of trade units), each of which (at the highest identifiable packaging level) is identified through GTIN. Such GTIN should then be placed together with the AI (02). In the case of using AI (02) to determine the GTIN of the content, it is necessary to use the AI(37) specifying the number of trade units (packaging) of the contents of the pallet, identified precisely by this GTIN. GLN NUMBER GLN is the GS1 ‘Global Location Number’. It is used to create AI (410), (411), (412), (413), (414), (415). Batch NUMBER (series) – AI (10) This application identifier is used to encode the production batch number/batch number of commercial units. If it is placed on the logistic label, it refers to the content labelled logistic units. DATES – AI (11), AI (13), AI (15), AI(17) dates are always stored in GS1-128 codes in the following format: RRMMDD. For example, the minimum shelf life 2009-01-23 will be recorded (AI 17) as 17090123. In the middle part of the label, the representation of the date may be different, but a format description is required (e.g. the date 2009-01-23 23 should contain a description YYYY-MM-DD + or the Polish version RRRR-MM-DD itself).
GLOSSARY OF TERMS RELATED TO GS1
LOGISTIC UNIT – pallet, carton, box, etc. of any composition, created for transport and / or storage, labelled with an SSCC number. Example: euro pallet with assortment placed on it.
COMMERCIAL UNIT – packaging, carton, pack, jar, bottle, can, etc., for which there is a need for access to predefined information and which can be ordered, priced or invoiced at any point in the supply chain. Product example: a pack of 12 individual packages of hair shampoo.
GS1 NATIONAL ORGANISATION PREFIX – is a three-digit number identifying the GS1. It is a national organisation in which the coding unit number and economic entity number were registered and granted. In the case of coding units registered in GS1 Poland, this prefix is ‘590’. It should be remembered that the national organisation prefix does not carry information about the country of origin of a given product, but only about the country in which the coding unit number used to label this product was registered.
CODING UNIT NUMBER – a number with a length of 4 – 7 digits, provided by the national organisation GS1.
TRADER NUMBER GS1 – a number with a length of 3 – 9 digits, assigned by the national organisation GS1, used to create GLN numbers.
LOCATION NUMBER – a number assigned by the coding unit, which is part of the GLN number of the coding unit.
SUPPLEMENTARY DIGIT OF SSCC – is any (0-9) digit, the first of 18- digits of the SSCC number, assigned by the coding unit.
GTIN INDICATOR DIGIT – is a number that indicates the packing variant of a given GTIN. Typically, this is a digit from 0-8. If it is the number 9, it has a specially labelled meaning that the GTIN is intended for labelling goods with a variable quantity and represents a ‘virtual’ unit quantity of the good (e.g. one kilogram). In case of a variable quantity commodity, it is additionally required to use one of the application identifiers specifying the measured quantity (e.g. AI (3101) to determine the weight in kilograms, to one decimal place).