The GTIN Code & UK Product Identification

December 8, 2021

The Industry has been calling for a standard unique product identification code and, at our Digitalisation Forum in 2020, Phil Thompson from NG Bailey spoke about the urgency of this need. Phil highlighted that it is required not only for the supply chain but also to enable the straightforward identification of a product and improved traceability throughout its life cycle.  At the EDA, our view is that the best fit for the industry would be the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) code managed by GS1; it is often referred to as the EAN or bar code number and is the number you see printed underneath a bar code.

A year later and things have moved on significantly.  At our 2021 Digitalisation Forum, Harshal Gore of GS1 UK and Sarah Jordan from Nestlé UK Ltd, gave a detailed presentation about how the GS1 standards have benefited industries such as grocery, retail and health.

GS1 is an international, not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to harness the power of standard to transform the way people live and work.

As a wholesaler, the use of the GTIN can facilitate efficient electronic trading both with suppliers & customers and is a fundamental component of warehouse & logistics management.  For those running an ecommerce operation it will enable you to match data from a number of different sources.

Even though it is primarily associated with food and healthcare products in the UK, the GTIN standard is widely used, and even mandated, in the construction sectors in a number of other countries. As a result, many of the products used in the UK electrotechnical sector already have GTIN codes, providing an opportunity for UK electrical manufacturers and wholesalers to lead the way with GTIN adoption.

In response to its growing use, GS1 invited the EDA to join a working group that is forming an action plan for the adoption of GTIN codes by the UK construction industry (the electrotechnical sector included).