GS1 Identification Keys
Get Registered
Home > Standards > GS1 Identification System > GS1 Identification Keys

GS1 Identification Keys

  • Email
  • Print this page
  • Addthis

GS1 Identification Keys are unique, universal and non significant numbers that provide access to information about physical entities in the Supply Chain. Depending on the type of key used, it identifies products, assets, services, locations, and entities uniquely and universally by retrieving relevant information from a centralized database. 

GS1 Identification Keys are used in diverse ways depending upon the need of the user. For example, GS1 keys are often used with data carriers like barcodes or RFID tags or with EDI messages or even with GDSN. The keys can also be used on their own without being encoded in any data carrier, especially for identification of online transactions.

Composition of GS1 Identification Keys:

  • GS1 Prefix which is a unique number assigned by the GS1 Global Office to each GS1 organization, e.g. in the case of India, GS1 India has been assigned the prefix number '890' by GS1 Global Office.
  • GS1 Company Prefix which is a unique number assigned by the local GS1 organization to each subscriber company.
  • GS1 Reference Item, which is a unique number assigned by the subscriber company to each individual entity like its products, locations, shipments etc.
  • GS1 check digit which is a number calculated by the module-10 formula (available under check digit calculator) to ensure GS1 reference item integrity.

Types of GS1 Identification Keys

There are nine types of GS1 Identification Keys that support the unique identification of items, services, locations, logistic units, assets, etc, which includes : 

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)
Global Location Number (GLN)
Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC)
Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI)
Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI)
Global Service Relation Number (GSRN)
A Global Document Type Identifier (GDTI)
Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN)
Global Identification Number for Consignment (GINC)

The GS1 Company Prefix assigned to a user company allows the company to create any of the GS1 Identification Keys.

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)

GTIN identifies trade items, that is items that are priced, ordered or invoiced at any point in the Supply Chain. This enhances visibility and lays the foundation for capturing and sharing information in an efficient and collaborative value chain.

Find more about GTIN

Global Location Number (GLN)

GLN identifies locations and legal entities. Location indicates physical structures such as a building, warehouse, loading dock, or even a specific shelf within a store while a legal entity indicates a company. GLN, as opposed to a proprietary internal numbering system, provides a standardized way to uniquely identify locations. GLN is a pre-requisite for key applications such as efficient electronic commerce and Global Data Synchronization.

Find more about GLN

Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC)

SSCC identifies individual logistics units such as cartons, pallets, or air cargo containers. SSCC enables unit level tracking thus facilitating accurate tracking of order items and automated goods-receiving.

Find more about SSCC

Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI)

GRAI identifies reusable package or transport equipment of a certain value such as a gas cylinder, pallet or a crate. As GRAI allows enterprises to scan assets in and out of their businesses, it can either be used for asset identification or can be part of a hiring or rental system where two or more companies collaborate. 

Find more about GRAI

Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI)

GIAI identifies fixed assets such as office equipments, computers, vehicles etc. GIAI provides a format to encode both the GS1 Company Prefix and the individual asset number or serial number. It also supports Supply Chain processes such as product recall and item traceability.

Find more about GIAI

Global Service Relation Number (GSRN)

GSRN identifies service relationships between a firm and its client, such as club memberships, loyalty programs, hospital admissions etc. GSRN is normally assigned by the service provider.

Find more about GSRN

A Global Document Type Identifier (GDTI)

GDTI identifies documents such as insurance policy, proof of shipment form, internal invoice, phone bill, graduate certificate etc. A company issues a GDTI when it needs to maintain a record of a document. GDTI provides a link to the database that holds the ‘master’ copy of the document.

Find more about GDTI

Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN)

GSIN identifies a shipment - grouping of logistics units meant for trade, referencing a dispatch advice and/or Bill of Lading (BOL). Assignment of GSIN must comply with the regulations of the World Customs Organization (WCO).

Find more about GSIN

Global Identification Number for Consignment (GINC)

GINC identifies a consignment - grouping of logistics units that are assembled to be transported together under one transport document.

Find more about GINC