Milestone 1 Obtain a Company Prefix

What’s a Company Prefix?

  • Uniquely identifies your company worldwide
  • Purchased from GS1 (
  • Required to create GTINs
  • Variable length
  • PTI Milestone #1: Get a Company Prefix (Now)

    A Company Prefix uniquely identifies your company to the world. You get a Company Prefix from GS1. (GS1 used to be UCC.) The UCC pioneered the use of UPC barcodes in the mid 1970s. A Company Prefix used to be called a “Company Code” or a “Manufacture Code.”

    UCC Company Codes Instead?

    You may already be shipping products with a UPC barcode, e.g., bags or clamshells, etc. If that barcode is proprietary to you, then you can use it for your GTINs. If, however, the UPC starts with 033383, it is a generic UPC and the company prefix cannot be used. Call GS1 if in doubt.

    UPC Company Prefix

    We find that some Famous Software customers are confused by the seeming differences between the “UPC Company Prefix” and the “GS1 Company Prefix,” or the “GTIN Company Prefix”. Basically they are the same – they are all your Company Prefix. UPC Company Prefixes are shorter than GS1 Company prefixes by one digit, (a zero). The added zero assures backward compatibility.

    If your company code was assigned by the UCC, then that is the UPC Company Prefix. Any company prefix that you use in your UPCs barcodes is also the UPC Company Prefix. Add a “0” (zero) to the front before using in a GTIN-14 identifier. If in doubt, call GS1.

    Company Prefix Length

    The Company Prefix you purchase can be between six and 12 digits. Shorter Company Prefixes allow you to create more GTINs. They are also more expensive than long prefixes.
    If you have a lot of products spend the extra money for a short Company Prefix!

    Go forward to Milestone 2


    We would be happy to help. Please give us a call at 800-444-8301 or send us an email.

    Additional Resources

    The PTI website is Here's a helpful PTI Resources page as well.
    Cosponsors of the Initiative include PMA, CPMA, and United Fresh.