Unlocking the power of GS1 standards

Maximise the benefits of complying with GS1 barcode standards to improve efficiency, safety, and visibility.
Maximise the benefits of complying with GS1 barcode standards to improve efficiency, safety, and visibility.

At Orca Scan, we’re all about simplifying barcode tracking so your supply chain operations are as efficient and effective as possible. GS1 helps us by providing a global standards framework to improve supply chain efficiency, safety, and visibility.

This post will answer ten of our user’s most frequently asked questions about GS1 and how Orca Scan can help you maximise the power of GS1 standards.

What is GS1?

GS1 is an independent non-profit organisation that provides a universal language for identifying and exchanging information about products, assets, and locations. By using GS1 standards, businesses can ensure that their supply chain data is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date, resulting in improved efficiency and cost savings.

What is the purpose of GS1?

GS1 standards empower organisations to grow efficiently, sustainably and safely - helping transform work and life. The goal of GS1 is to help companies improve their supply chain operations by providing a common language for identifying and exchanging information. This leads to better data management, increased accuracy, reduced errors, and greater visibility.

What are the benefits of using GS1 standards?

GS1 standards are the most widely used system of standards in the world. By using GS1 standards and becoming GS1 members, businesses can enjoy improved communication across the supply chain. You can accurately capture and share information about your products and assets from wherever you are - and because GS1 is global, communication can go further than before, so you have increased transparency and traceability of your assets as they travel through their life cycle without the added confusion of using multiple identification systems.

How does GS1 help improve supply chain management?

GS1 provides a common language for identifying and exchanging information about products, assets, and locations, enabling businesses to accurately track and trace products throughout the supply chain. This leads to improved efficiency, reduced costs, and increased accuracy of information exchange.

How does GS1 ensure data accuracy?

GS1 ensures data accuracy by assigning unique identification numbers to each product or asset and provides strict guidelines for capturing and exchanging information. Additionally, GS1 works with approved partners, like Orca Scan, to provide the tools and systems for verifying and maintaining the accuracy of the information, ensuring that it is always up-to-date and reliable.

Can you explain the GS1 barcode system?

The GS1 barcode system uses unique identification numbers to identify products, assets, and locations. They produce a range of barcodes, including authorised GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers), and each barcode is “technology-agnostic”, so the barcodes can be printed and scanned using the solution that’s right for you and all members of the supply chain.

What is the difference between GTIN, EAN, and UPC?

GTIN (Global Trade Item Number), EAN (European Article Number), and UPC (Universal Product Code) are all types of barcode symbols used to identify products. GTIN is the overarching term encompassing all types of barcodes, including EAN and UPC. EAN is used mainly in Europe, while UPC is primarily used in North America.

NOTE: GS1 is the only authorised provider of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs).

How do I become a member of GS1?

Becoming a member of GS1 is simple - visit the GS1 website and complete the membership application process. Provide information about your business, including your products and how you plan to use GS1 standards. Once your application is approved, you’ll receive a GS1 company prefix and can start using GS1 barcodes and standards.

What is the role of GS1 in e-commerce?

GS1 plays a vital role in e-commerce by providing standards for identifying and exchanging product information. Many retailers, like Amazon, use GTINs to verify the authenticity of products and have required all items to be listed in the GS1 database.

Orca Scan is an approved GS1 partner
Orca Scan is an approved GS1 partner

How does Orca Scan support GS1 standards?

Orca Scan is a GS1 UK-approved barcode tracking platform and solution provider that helps makes it easy to build complete barcode solutions without the need for hardware devices and code. Using just the mobile app & web-based spreadsheet Orca Scan allows multiple users to collaborate in real time.

We have created a range of solutions specifically to decode, track and manage assets with GS1 barcodes and help businesses harness the power of GS1 standards.

Tracking Medical Devices

All Medical Devices and equipment sold and used in the US, EU and China must carry a Unique Device Identification (UDI) barcode. UDI barcodes are the global standard provided by GS1 and were introduced by Governments to protect patients worldwide with transparency.

The Orca Scan Medical Device Tracking solution automatically extracts the Device Identifier, Serial Number, Manufacturer/Production Date, Lot Number and Expiration Date from a UDI barcode into the relevant columns. In addition, if the medical device is registered with the US FDA, Orca Scan will also populate the manufacturer’s name and description - reducing human error.

Tracking prescription drugs

All pharmaceutical drugs sold worldwide carry barcodes. Over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol typically uses regular UPC barcodes. However, prescription drugs often have FMD barcodes containing additional information, such as the batch number and expiry date.

The Orca Scan Drug Tracking Solution can scan any medication barcode using a smartphone, tablet or scanner and, where possible, extract the batch number and expiry date into a readable format. If the NHS issued the medication, additional information, such as the name of the drug and pack size, will also be provided.

Inventory tracking

Orca Scan integrates with GS1 standards to scan a barcode and capture the product name, description, quantity, category, notes, location, date and barcode number. Our Inventory Tracking Solution contains all the required fields to roll out an inventory management system in minutes, giving you real-time visibility into stock levels and product data.

You can even create a solution that truly fits your needs. Orca Scan has been designed to be fully customisable, so you are in control of the data you capture and where it goes - including:

  1. Asset Map Tracking: Orca Scan enables businesses to track and manage their assets using GS1 barcodes, improving supply chain visibility and efficiency.
  2. History Log: Track precisely when your products were scanned, by whom, and what they did with Orca Scan’s dynamic History Log. Giving you complete end-to-end visibility into the movement of your products and assets.
  3. Use Triggers to increase control: Set ‘If-this-then-that’ logic in your sheets so you can get real-time email updates when a product is damaged, or stock levels are low. You can even set triggers to split GS1 barcode data.
  4. Data Management: Orca Scan offers centralised data management spreadsheet(s) that ensure your product data is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date.

These features work together to help businesses optimise their supply chain operations, drive efficiency, and reduce costs.

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