What's what? EAN, UPC, GTIN & co.
What is an EAN number?
The European Article Number (EAN) is used to identify a product or a product properly. Today, there are countless articles in the trade, which are similar in nature, but differ in the manufacturer and certain product characteristics. In order to prevent confusion in the logistics and retail trade, products can receive an EAN number, which makes it possible to carry out identification only by means of the number. The idea was developed in 1973 in the USA (UPC) and three years later the EAN code was followed by the introduction of the European variant. By the way, the EAN was machine-readable from the beginning, not just as a sequence of numbers, but at the same time as a line code, in order to be able to read it with a scanner. The first scanner, as is customary in the supermarket, was introduced in 1974 in the USA and in 1977 in Germany.
In the year 2009 the EAN was replaced by the GTIN, although the EAN is still the more widely used designation, especially since the composition of the coding changed only relatively little.
The EAN is composed of 8 or 13 digits and is named EAN-8 or EAN-13. It consists of the country prefix, a three-digit number, for Germany 400 to 440, the company number, the article number and finally the check digit. For the EAN-8, the company number drops. This shortened item number is used for products that do not offer enough space to offer an EAN-13. Without the EAN code and its machine readability, the handling of goods in Europe would not be possible on today's scale, since a manual identification of the individual products would be much time-consuming and time-consuming both at the logistical handling stations, at manufacturers as well as in the wholesale and retail trade.
The importance of GTIN?
In 2009, GTIN, the Global Trade Item Number, removed the EAN code in the product identification process, but replacing it was not quite right. The two most important global identification systems, the UPC from the USA and the European EAN, were merged , For the allocation of the respective numbers on the American side the Uniform Council Code and on the European side the EAN-International responsible. Since 2005, these two organizations have been merged under the name of GS1 and have two headquarters in Brussels and Lawrenceville on both continents.
In the global trading world, a clearly identifiable identification number is of enormous importance as this considerably reduces the administrative share in logistics. This is, however, only one point among many. At the same time, the numbers registered in databases can be used to rationalize purchasing in essential components or to simplify product and manufacturer searches. In addition to this, the machine readability of the codes is achieved, which not only facilitates the reading in of the goods at the various points of intersection in the trade, but at the same time makes an exact overview of the demand and the demand and thus a necessary supply procurement simpler and faster. By the way, for example, a barcode-supported bearing guide permits a permanent inventory. In addition to manufacturers and trade, authorities such as the customs also benefit from the use of the GTIN, since the pre-declaration of goods imports and exports is today largely done electronically, in which the GTIN serves, inter alia, to determine the value of the goods.
What are the differences between EAN & UPC number?
In principle UPC and EAN differ only by one number. In contrast to the EAN, the UPC code used on the American market has only twelve numbers, whereby an EAN code can be made by prefixing a zero from a UPC code. In relation to the relatively new GTIN, which represents an overlapping identification number, which is independent of the data carrier, UPC as well as EAN numbers, which are based on a particular coding principle and can only be read out via corresponding software and hardware, if no manual processing is performed , The various types of barcode are based on the rules laid down in ISO 28219 and ISO 22742. The new GTIN-14 will replace the EAN and UPC over the years, but this changeover process will continue for several years due to the changes in the infrastructure, new software and hardware. In addition to EAN and UPC, a whole series of other product identifiers are used which are usually assigned to specific industries, such as the EPC for electronic products or the VIN for vehicles as well as the ISBN.
What is an ISBN number and what is it used for?
Since the introduction of book printing, books have been a favorite commodity, which has come to the market in ever larger numbers and with the most diverse contents and still come. In Germany alone, some 90,000 titles appear annually, and about one million German-language works are stored. This requires a corresponding organization, which includes the international standard book number (ISBN). As early as 1968, the International Organization for Standardization adopted the idea of the leading English bookshop WHSmith, which produced its own product numbers for its articles. The resulting ISBN, at that time still ten digits, allows the identification of each bayitle, for which a corresponding number is assigned. In the year 2005 the old ISBN 10 was replaced by a thirteen-digit ISBN, which is now identical with the EAN. This allowed the expansion of possible number combinations from about 1 billion to about 1.9 billion. In addition to the ISBN for books, other identification systems are used for other literary and musical works, such as the ISMN for music scores, the ISAN for audiovisual works and the ISSN.
What is an ISSN number and what is it used for?
While books are usually self-contained products, journals and fonts are so-called collective works whose individual products complement each other. This includes since 2013 also digital media up to blogs. By assigning an ISSN, the various journals can be identified. Actually, the ISSN consists of eight numbers, but the EAN code is also used here to simplify the machine readability. The prefix three-digit number 977 identifies this EAN as ISSN. In contrast to most other goods, the prices are fixed in the ISSN EAN code and do not have to be changed due to the legally fixed price binding in Germany.
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