What are GTINs?
A GTIN is a number that can be used by a company to uniquely identify all its trade items. It is the number found in the barcode. GS1 defines trade items as products or services that are priced, ordered or invoiced at any point in the supply chain.
The GTIN can be used to identify types of products at any packaging level (e.g., consumer unit, inner pack, case, pallet). Groups of trade items with similar production and usage characteristics such as production batches can be further identified with the help of the batch / lot number, expiry date, and similar data elements. Individual trade items can be uniquely identified using a GTIN plus serial number.
Allocation of a GTIN to a trade item is the responsibility of the party that warrants the trade item declarations, known as the GTIN allocator. On joining GS1 Australia, the GTIN allocator licences a GS1 Company Prefix or individual GTINs, which is for the sole use of the company to which it is allocated.
The GTIN allocator is the organisation that warrants the trade item declarations and may be:
- The manufacturer or supplier: The company that manufactures the trade item or has it manufactured, in any country, and sells it under its own brand name.
- The importer or wholesaler: The importer or wholesaler that has the trade item manufactured, in any country and sells it under its own name or the importer or wholesaler that changes the trade item (for example by modifying the packaging of the trade item).
- The retailer: The retailer that has the trade item manufactured, in any country, and sells it under its own private label.
- Any party that chooses to take responsibility for the trade item declarations that has not yet been assigned a GTIN and, in doing so, sells it under their own brand name.
In all cases, the party who warrants the trade item declarations is the party who SHALL assign the GTIN to a trade item. With that action, the party becomes the GTIN allocator.
Prior to January 2023, the party responsible for assigning a GTIN to a trade item was called the “brand owner”. In industries where the term “brand owner” is relevant and familiar, this term SHALL be considered as equivalent to the term GTIN allocator.