GTIN Non-reuse came into effect from January 1, 2019. That means an assigned GTIN SHALL NOT be reassigned to another trade item.
As a global industry-driven, neutral not-for-profit organisation, GS1 was directed by industry to make an update to the global GTIN Management Standard
to ensure traceability across the value chain through unique product identification and introduce rules concerning GTIN non-reuse. This update aligns with global best practices.
Reason for the update
Trade items (and their associated data attributes) remain in digital/online paths to purchase far longer than they remain in physical-store supply chains. For example, in consumer-to-consumer marketplaces it can be decades. Because of this, stopping GTIN reuse is critical in an omni-channel world.
Consequences of not adhering to the GTIN non-reuse standards, include but are not limited to
- GTIN reuse creates confusion online where products live forever.
- In listing processes, GTIN reuse can result in out-of-date, inaccurate catalogue data.
- When GTINs are reused, GTIN management becomes unclear for brands with products in multiple sectors.
- Rejection of your product into the market
- Confusion between products
- Loss of data integrity
- Need to reprint product packaging or withdraw products from shelves
- Potential reputational damage between trading partners
Does the GTIN reuse change apply to all levels of the packaging hierarchy?
Yes, effective January 1, 2019, GTINs WERE ALLOWED NOT be reassigned regardless of where they are assigned in the packaging hierarchy.
Does ending GTIN reuse only impact retail?
No, the update to the global standard applied to all trade items, regardless of sector.
In some sectors, such as Healthcare, GTIN non-reuse has been in effect since 2011.
I have never reused a GTIN, does this affect me?
This will not affect you because you are already complying with the update. All you need to do is continue not reusing GTINs on your products and renew your annual GS1 subscription in order to keep your GTINs valid and, if applicable, in the national registry.
I rely on reusing GTINs in my operations as my products do not last in the marketplace more than four years. What does this mean for me?
The new global standard of GTIN non-reuse rule is a result of industry feedback to GS1 on a global level. This rule was created to help support your peers with long-term product traceability in both supply chain distribution and after its purchase. GS1 prides itself on being neutral and industry-driven and regularly updates the global standard which may only affect a portion of subscribers. It is still critical to comply with these updates to ensure everyone is using best practices.
All organisations needed to have implemented this new global standard by January 1, 2019.
What if I accidentally reuse a GTIN?
Maintaining records of GTINs that have been used continues to be the user’s responsibility. If you accidentally reuse a GTIN, you face many of the consequences GTIN non-reuse is designed to eliminate;
- confusion between products
- loss of data integrity
- discrepancies around GTIN ownership
- the need to reprint product packaging or withdraw products from shelves
- potential reputational damage between trading partners
To prevent GTIN duplication issues, GS1 recommends keeping a thorough and centralised database cataloguing the GTIN, which product it is assigned to, and any key defining attributes to avoid confusion down the line.
I have a GTIN assignment system. What should I do?
Review your GTIN assignment systems.
Are the current rules for reuse coded into your system?
Do updates need to be made to comply with the updated standard?
If you use 3rd party software solutions, are your solution providers prepared to support the change?
Are there any exceptions to the change?
Yes, the only exceptions are:
- The GTIN may be deleted from all catalogues without first being marked as withdrawn or discontinued and may be reused 12 months after it is deleted or after it is last shared with a trading partner (whichever is later) if both:
- The GTIN is published in an externally accessible manner (e.g., to a catalogue or directly to a trading partner) with a status that indicates that it is draft, preliminary, investigational, or some equivalent status other than final, withdrawn, discontinued or deleted; and
- The trading partners with whom the GTIN is shared agree that it may be reused, either as a condition of receiving the data (eg., the GTIN is sent to the trading partners as part of an investigational product development phase) or after deletion (eg., all trading partners confirm that the draft, preliminary, or investigational GTIN has not been propagated to a system that would be adversely affected non reuse of the GOM)
- If the GTIN is never published in an externally accessible manner (eg., to a catalogue or directly to a trading partner), it may be reused immediately.
- Trade items that have been withdrawn from the market and are reintroduced may use the original GTIN if they are reintroduced without any modifications or changes that require a new GTIN as specified by the GTIN Management Standard.