Milestone 2 Assign GTINs (Now)

A good example of a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is the number found at the bottom of barcode on a can of Coke – the number is a UPC. It is also a GTIN-12. GTINs can be 12, 13 or 14 digits. The PTI specifies a 14-digit GTIN like the one shown below.


Remember, a GTIN is not a barcode – it is simply a number. You define GTINs for the products that you sell and tell your buyers the numbers. Think of them as catalog numbers – but not as SKUs.

For example, perhaps you track specific varieties but don’t tell your buyers, i.e., navel oranges. Thus, you will need to have more actual products, and therefore more product IDs, than you will have GTINs. This is why you should not use GTINs as product IDs.

A GTIN has four parts:

  1. Indicator digit – identifies the packaging level, e.g., each/item, case, or pallet. PTI recommends that case-level GTIN’s Indicator digit be "1":
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  3. Company Prefix – this is the number GS1 assigns you:
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  5. Item Reference – this is a number you define. It identifies the specific product.


    GS1 recommends that you make the Item Reference sequential – do not make them "smart" numbers. This is because, over time, pack configurations change, labels change, varieties change and your product lines evolve. A smart number schemea will be difficult or impossible to maintain over the long run.

    According to GS1, different labels and different configurations will need different GTINs. Check out the GS1 document GTIN Allocation Rules for a great overview of how to assign GTINs.

  6. Check Digit – Used by computers to confirm that the GTIN has been properly read. An algorythem is used to create check digits for each GTIN. – You can calculate these online.
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Private Labels

If you are packing someone else’s private label, they own the GTIN – they must provide you their GTIN, and you need to use it to identify the product. This means that everyone packing the same label will be using the same GTIN – potentially multiple shippers. Thus, the lot must uniquely identify you as well as help you identify the field, PO, etc.

The owner of the GTIN is responsible to ensure the lots are unique between all the packers.

Exception Codes

The PTI recommends a GTIN assignment strategy involving exception codes. These codes would be used to identify "secondary attributes" that aren’t tracked by the GTIN.

Famous Version 6 already provides built-in tracking and selection tools for such attributes, and you will probably want to continue using these tools rather than setting up a second system. If you have questions, please contact us.

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

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.