Item Level Marking SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT TERMS: - ITEM LEVEL BARCODES:

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1 Item Level Marking First, there has to be clarity on the terms used to describe the numbers used for item level marking and the barcodes that encode these numbers. It is very important you read through the entire document, from front to back, in order to (1) understand the implications resulting from a misunderstanding of these terms as well as (2) the recommendations at the end of this document. SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT TERMS: Names of barcodes used on the item (these are the carriers of the numbers in the next paragraph): UPC-A GS1 DataBar EAN-13 (used outside of USA or Canada) Names of numbers that can be used to identify items: U.P.C. (Universal Product Code) /GTIN-12 Generic U.P.C. /GTIN-12 PLU (Price Look-Up) GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) /GTIN-12 or GTIN The UPC-A barcode is a barcode used to encode either the U.P.C. or the Generic U.P.C. which are GTINs-12; used on packaged produce 2. The DataBar is the barcode used to encode the 14-digit GTIN; used on loose/bulk produce 3. The PLU number is NOT encoded in either of these barcodes and is simply printed on a sticker on loose or bulk produce - ITEM LEVEL BARCODES: NAME OF BARCODE = UPC-A The traditional linear (bars and spaces) barcode used to hold a 12-digit UPC number. It can hold both a company specific U.P.C. and a Generic U.P.C. (Below is a Company Specific barcode.) Updated April 2014 Page 1

2 NAME OF BARCODE = GS1 DataBar (Stacked Omni-directional DataBar) This is a new form of linear (bars and spaces) barcode that was designed to fit in small, spaceconstrained areas (e.g. on a PLU sticker). The official name of the particular DataBar that was designed for produce is called the Stacked Omni-directional DataBar. This particular barcode can only hold the 14-digit GTIN. It is smaller than a UPC-A barcode, and therefore the bars and spaces are more precise. As such, on older scanning equipment it may be relatively slower to read under various conditions than a larger, more forgiving, UPC-A barcode. - ITEM LEVEL NUMBERS: U.P.C. (Universal Product Code) or GTIN-12 The number inside the UPC-A barcode is the 12-digit U.P.C. (Universal Product Code) which has three components: 1. Company Prefix = a number assigned by GS1 that uniquely identifies a company from any other company across the globe. 2. Item Reference Number = assigned by the owner of the Company Prefix to identify the item being numbered 3. Check Digit = an algorithm that serves as a checks and balances to ensure preceding digits were entered correctly IMPORTANT NOTE: The length of the Company Prefix will vary from 6 to 9 digits What determines the length of your Company Prefix? The length of the Company Prefix (6-9 digits) depends on the number of items which need to have a GTINs assigned to them for the company. Updated April 2014 Page 2

3 # of Item Configurations Length of Company Prefix Length of Item Reference Number 99,999 ###### = 6 digits ##### = 5 digits 9,999 ####### = 7 digits #### = 4 digits 999 ######## = 8 digits ### = 3 digits 99 ######### = 9 digits ## = 2 digits * It is for this reason that the Company Prefix is said to be variable-length What determines the length of your Item Reference Number? As shown above in the chart, the length of your Company Prefix will determine the length of your Reference Number you will use for your items. Consequently, the length of your Company Prefix will also determine the length of the Reference Number used for your case assignments as well. Generic U.P.C. or GTIN-12 This number can also be encoded in a UPC-A barcode. It is a U.P.C. number that uses a generic Company Prefix = , rather than a company-specific prefix obtained from GS1. The generic Company Prefix does not allow a company to differentiate companies using this same Company Prefix. This prevents attributing product movement to a specific company, shrink to a specific company, sales to a specific company, traceability to a specific company, etc. PLU (Price Look-Up) code This is a 4 or 5 digit number assigned by the IFPS (International Federation for Produce Standards) that companies typically use on loose, bulk produce items that define Commodity, Variety and Size Group. When using a 9 in front of the 4-digit PLU number (making 5 digits in total), it indicates that the item is ORGANIC. When using an 8 in front of the 4-digit PLU number (making 5 digits in total), it indicates the item is GENETICALLY MODIFIED. Therefore, the PLU number can, in some situations, be 5 digits long. This number is NOT encoded in either the UPC-A barcode, nor the DataBar barcode. It is typically printed onto a sticker and then affixed to an item (e.g. apple, pear, banana, etc.). GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) The number to be encoded inside a UPC, a Stacked Omni-directional DataBar or a case. There are three different GTINs used in the produce industry: GTIN-12, GTIN-13 and a GTIN-14.The GTIN has the same three components as the U.P.C. So, essentially the GTIN used for the DataBar is the exact same as a U.P.C. (GTIN-12). Makeup of GTIN for DataBar 1. One or two zeroes = DataBar must have a 14 digit GTIN so a GTIN -12 would have two zeroes filled to the left and a GTIN-13 would have one zero filled to the left 2. Company Prefix = a number assigned by GS1 that uniquely identifies a company from any other company across the globe Updated April 2014 Page 3

4 3. Item Reference Number = assigned by the owner of the Company Prefix to identify the item being numbered 4. Check Digit = an algorithm that serves as a checks and balances to ensure preceding digits were entered correctly IMPORTANT NOTE: The Company Prefix used for the GTIN is the same Company Prefix used for the U.P.C. Therefore, it has the same considerations with regards to the length of the Company Prefix and the length of the reference number. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ITEM LEVEL MARKING: Recommendation #1: For bags, packages and clamshells - Use UPC-A barcodes. The UPC-A barcode symbol is a larger barcode and less precise than the DataBar. Therefore, it is more forgiving when pre-printed on bags, packages and clamshells and may therefore have a better chance of being read quickly on these surfaces than a DataBar. In addition, bags, packages and clamshells have more realestate that could be used to affix the larger UPC-A. Finally, your package supplier may already own UPC-A films or plates of lines for creating bar codes and may charge you to invest in GS1 DataBar films. The use of the generic Company Prefix (033383) inside of this number does not allow the tracking needed for company identification. Therefore, it is recommended that companies use the U.P.C. number that contains your own GS1-issued Company Prefix. As some retailers are not yet equipped to handle the storage of a company-specific U.P.C., there will be a transition for some of these companies. As such, it would be important for you to contact your buyers to ensure they are ready to store these numbers and perhaps come up with a transitional strategy (e.g. show a PLU number as a backup). NOTE: As the GTIN inside of the DataBar and the U.P.C. inside of the UPC-A barcode provide the same function (i.e. linking an item to a specific company), either one of these could work. Therefore, if you have already ordered bags having the DataBar, work with your buyers on depleting your existing inventory of bags before ordering the next round of bags with the UPC-A barcode on the bags. But is still recommended to use the UPC-A. Recommendation #2: For loose produce having a PLU sticker - Use the DataBar. The DataBar will typically fit a similar sized sticker used for your PLU number. Updated April 2014 Page 4

5 Encode the 14-digit GTIN number starting with one or two zeroes inside the DataBar. It is recommended that you assign GTINs at the same granularity as the PLU number (e.g. Commodity, Variety, Size Group) NOTE: For companies, who have obtained their Company Prefixes from outside of the U.S.A. or Canada, an EAN-13 is used. The first digit of the GTIN will always start with zero but the second digit will likely be something other than a zero. Include the PLU number on the sticker as a back-up, in the event the DataBar cannot be scanned. This is mandatory under the GS1 USA Produce Application Guidelines. The POS software itself (not the scanner) at the buyer s location must have a flag set up by the retailer, telling the POS to weigh the item at POS (just like the PLU usually does today). NOTE: Make sure you have communicated your 14-digit GTINs to your buyers and they have stored these numbers PRIOR to using this. Recommendation #3: For items currently numbered with If your product currently has a UPC number beginning with , check first with your buying partners to see if they are ready to transition to the UPC number having your specific GS1-issued Company Prefix. i. If they are, follow Recommendation #1 above. ii. If they are not, you will need to work with them on a transition strategy Recommendation #4: For all other items - If your product is NOT a bag, NOT a package, NOT a clamshell and does NOT have a PLU sticker: i. If the item has the space to imprint a UPC-A barcode: 1. Use the UPC-A barcode on the item 2. Use a 12-digit UPC having a company-specific Company Prefix ii. If the item does NOT have the space to imprint a UPC-A barcode: 1. Use the DataBar barcode on the item 2. Use the 14-digit GTIN inside the barcode with the first two digits (furthermost left digits) being 00 NOTE: For companies, who have obtained their Company Prefixes from outside of the U.S. or Canada, the first digit will always start with 0 but the second digit will likely be something other than a 0. Updated April 2014 Page 5

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