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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.

Who is GS1?

GS1 is an independent not-for-profit standards 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?

Using GS1 standards aid businesses as they grow - helping to improve safety, supporting sustainability, and transforming 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. 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 (GS1 Global Trade Item Number - GTIN) or asset (GS1 Global Individual Asset Identifier - GIAI) and provides set 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 system?

The GS1 system enables the unique identification of products, assets, locations (GS1 Global Location Numbers - GLNs) and more. These identifiers can be encoded through barcodes and RFID, enabling automatic information capture. The GS1 system is technology agnostic, meaning you can choose any solution which utilises GS1 standards correctly.

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

GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is the unique product identifier, whereas the EAN (European Article Number) and UPC (Universal Product Code) are all types of barcodes. The EAN is used mainly in Europe and represents the 13-digit GTIN, while the UPC is primarily used in North America and represents the 12-digit GTIN.

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 Global Company Prefix and can start using GS1 barcodes and standards. If you’re based abroad, you can still join GS1 UK but can also become a member of any of the GS1 organisations worldwide.

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. Online marketplaces, such as Amazon, use GTINs to organise their catalogues, ensure the correct product is ordered and delivered, and enable functionality like price comparison and reviews are accurate.

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 Identifier (UDI). GS1 is authorised as an issuing authority for UDIs, so GS1 members can use the product GTIN to comply with regulations.

The Orca Scan Medical Device Tracking solution automatically extracts the Device Identifier, Serial Number, Manufacturer/Production Date, Lot Number and Expiration Date from the 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

Pharmaceutical drugs sold worldwide carry barcodes. Over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol typically uses regular EAN/UPC barcodes. However, prescription drugs often have GS1 DataMatrix 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 supports GS1 standards enabling the capture of the product name, description, quantity, category, notes, location, date and barcode number (GTIN) by scanning the product barcode. 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.
  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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