How the GS1 System of Standards Works

GS1 Standards – interoperable building blocks for an integrated system enabling traceability and visibility.


The GS1 System of Standards is a flexible architecture that ensures maximum efficiency. It is built around and upon several elements:

  • GS1 Identification Keys are the foundation of the GS1 System and ensure the globally unique identification of products, locations, assets, etc. Identification Keys include for example GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) and GLN (Global Location Number).
  • GS1 Application Identifiers present a standardised way to encode additional information, such as expiry date, lot number and serial number.
  • GS1 BarCodes provide a portfolio of data carriers including GS1-128 Linear bar codes, GS1 DataMatrix (two dimensional bar codes) and others. For manufacturers, these meet the various needs including; differing pack sizes, amount of data and packaging/production rates. For users, these carriers can include all the required data.
  • GS1 EPCglobal uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to electronically carry GS1 Identification Keys in the Electronic Product Code (EPC)
  • GS1 eCom enables Electronic Data Interchange, providing clear guidelines for creating electronic versions of all sorts of business documents in the Order to Invoice cycle, such as Purchase Order (PO)and Despatch Advice (DESADV), based on GS1Identification Keys.
  • GS1 Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN)allows users to obtain, maintain, validate and exchange master data in a secure and reliable environment via a network of GDSN-certified datapools. The synchronised information (including GTIN, GLN and a defined set of product attributes[elements]) empowers electronic product catalogues.
  • GS1 EPC Information Services (EPCIS)providesthe ability to track and trace products as they move through the supply chain, and includes a set of interfaces (capture and query) for obtaining and sharing data about unique items both within and across organisations.