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Global standards for object identification

GS1 identification numbers are unique worldwide. They identify objects of all kinds, services, companies, and locations. Mapped in data carriers or electronic messages, all partners can process the information without manual intervention.

Based on the identification number, article information, service type, addresses or details of the delivery address are retrieved from a database, transmitted and further processed. Automatic identification eliminates time-consuming and error-prone data entry processes.

The GS1 identification keys are the core element in the GS1 system. They consist of precisely defined character strings with a fixed length and thus enable unique referencing to physical units such as articles, trade units, transport units, returnable transport containers, locations, and service relationships.

The 13-digit Global Trade Item Number (GTIN, formerly EAN) is used to identify products and services without overlap. The GTIN serves as an access key to product and service data and is an important component of merchandise management systems. It is used regardless of industry.

The 13-digit Global Location Number (GLN) uniquely identifies companies and parts of companies such as sites, storage locations or delivery ramps worldwide.

Your use at a glance

Strukturierte Daten

Precisely defined in length and structure

Automatisierte Datenverarbeitung

Precisely defined in length and structure

Global eindeutig

Globally unique


Suitable for any industry

How to get your GS1 identification keys 

The basis of all GS1 identification keys is the GS1 basis number (GCP, GS1 Company Prefix). You can create any GS1 identification key with the basis number. In Switzerland and Principality of Liechtenstein, you have to be a member of GS1 Switzerland to obtain the GS1 basis number (GCP, GS1 Company Prefix). 

Identification keys Area of application Example
Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) Articles and services A chocolate bar, a kilo of flour, a litre of mineral water
Global Location Number (GLN) Site and company Branch, unloading ramp, external warehouse, invoicing address
Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) Transport units Pallets, packages, shipping units, consignments 
Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI) Load carriers Reusable containers, pallets, boxes, beer barrels
Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI) Fixed assets Computers, railway carriages, ECG devices
Global Service Relation Number (GSRN) Service provider and recipient relationships Loyalty scheme members, doctors at a hospital, library members
Global Document Type Identifier (GDTI) Documents Tax returns, transport documents, driving licences
Global Identification Number for Consignment (GINC) Consignments Logistics units transported together in an ocean container
Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN) Shipments Logistics units delivered to a customer together
Global Coupon Number (GCN) Coupons Discount vouchers on paper or in electronic format
Component/Part Identifier (CPID) Components and parts Vehicle parts (bogies, bolts)
Global Model Number (GMN) – Basic UDI-DI (BUDI-DI)


Articles and services (basic specification of a product)

Medical devices (classification key for registration in EUDAMED)

Series of a T-Shirt
Basic model of a medical clamp