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The following Information was provided by GS1 US: 
An Introduction to the Global Trade ItemNumber (GTIN)


How do GTINs support business intelligence?

GS1 Standards provide the format and structure for GTINs use across various platforms where product identification and information are needed, including databases and systems, physical product marking, business transactions, and internet applications. This enables trading partners to use the same identifier to distinguish the product across all of those platforms – empowering data-driven organizations with the information they need to optimize business intelligence and improve business processes.


A manufacturer assigns the following GTIN-12 to a product: 614141000005. The table below illustrates the use of GS1 Standards to enable the GTIN to identify the product in the various platforms and applications across the supply chain and consumer applications.


Universal Product Code (UPC) (GTIN-12)

It all started with the 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC), which is commonly used in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and other countries. A shorter version exists for small packages.

European Article Number (EAN) and Japan Article Number (JAN) (GTIN-13)

In Europe, there is a compatible standard called European Article Number (EAN). It usually has 13 digits although a shorter version exists for smaller packages. Any UPC can be converted into an EAN simply by adding a zero to the front.

Japan uses the same standard, calling it a Japan Article Number (JAN). The codes used in Japan start with different digits than the ones used in Europe, so they are globally unique.


Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)

The 14-digit Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), like the name suggests, is the global standard and is compatible with both EAN and UPC. Add a leading zero to any EAN and you have a GTIN.


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