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    July 20, 2016
    6 minute read

    GTIN Management Standard: 10 new product information management rules

    by: John Apicella
    The new GTIN rules are way simpler.
    The new GTIN rules are way simpler.

    The Takeaway: GTIN Allocation Rules are now called the GTIN Management Standard, and the list of requirements shrunk from 46 complex ones to 10 simpler product identification rules that make your life easier. This blog post will help you make sense of the changes and new requirements.

    GTINs - or Global Trade Item Numbers - are those unique identifiers, ranging in length from 8-14 digits that help your brand, retailers and consumers identify your products.Why are we talking about them?

    The GTIN Allocation Rules - the requirements for GTINs on new products and when changes have been made to existing products - have been significantly altered. The list of 46 requirements has been shrunk down to 10 more comprehensive ones. And now, the GTIN Allocation rules are called the GTIN Management Standard.

    All in all, GS1's changes should make GTIN management "simpler and more effective," according to the many retail experts who had their say in the creation of the new rules.

    "The new standard made it easier to make clear decisions and communicate these decisions across the organization - saving the company time and money," says Lori Bigler, director, industry initiatives and standards at The J.M. Smucker Company. "Using the new rules, we completed the evaluation of all 125 products in minutes instead of days."

    This is fantastic news, but what exactly are the 10 rules of the GTIN Management Standard? Let's take a look.

    Nothing but a GTIN, baby
    Before we dig in, it's probably best to define "new products" as compared to "product changes," since that's what the GTIN Management Standard is all about.

    The GS1 explained that new products are those not currently in existence or available for sale, but will serve as additions to the brand manufacturer's portfolio or the retail marketplace at-large once offered.

    Meanwhile, the term "product change" is applied when the attributes of existing products (those part of portfolios or in the marketplace) are altered - they're "replacement products," according to GS1.

    And now, for the 10 actual rules of the GTIN Management Standard:

    1. Introducing new products
    Any and all new products must be assigned a different GTIN at every level of the packaging hierarchy - from packs and cases to base units.

    2. Changes to formulations or functionalities
    When products undergo alterations that require new packaging information, such as ingredients, or the use case driving design changes, a new GTIN is required for the entire packaging hierarchy.

    Consumers use GTINs more than they probably think.Consumers use GTINs more than they probably think.

    3. The net content of a consumable product expands or shrinks
    When the amount of stuff in your product's packaging changes (it weighs more, contains more units or is bigger in volume) and you change the label to reflect that, you need a new GTIN. Serving size changes do not require GTIN assignments - just the net content declared to the consumer.

    4. Gross weight and dimensions
    If the physical dimensions of your product on any axis change by at least 20 percent, then you've got to put a new GTIN on it. Same goes for gross weight adjustments.

    But don't try to get sneaky by slowly increasing the weight and dimensions of your products! GS1 said that practice in "unacceptable."

    5. New certifications, fewer certifications
    Product packaging that adds or removes certification marks - words, logos, symbols - that are assigned by regulatory bodies, consumers or trade partners demands a new GTIN. For example, you can't just add "organic" to labels without changing the GTIN of the item.

    6. Branding changes
    When the primary brand on a product's label is replaced by a new one, you've got to assign a new GTIN.

    7. Event-specific, time-sensitive promotional packaging
    If you change the packaging of a product to promote an event or align with the seasons and that change affects the shipping and sale of the item during that time period, then you need a new GTIN on ONLY the supply chain packaging (i.e. cases and pallets).

    For example, this rule goes into effect if you attach a free trial item to an exisiting package that changes shipping requirements.

    8. Bulk quantity adjustments
    Higher-level packaging needs new GTINs when you change the quantity of items in pallets, cases and packs.

    9. Product assortments
    If you change the items bundled in a pre-defined assortment of products, add new items or replace any of them, then you must use a new GTIN.

    10. Prices on labels
    When your products' labels include a "price on pack" - have a price listed as part of the packaging - and you change that price or remove it, you have to assign a new GTIN. If you add "price on pack," then you have to put a new GTIN on as well. (GS1 recommended that you shouldn't use "price on pack" labeling anyway.)

    And that's all 10 of the new GTIN Management Standard rules. They're pretty straightforward and should make product information management, in general, a bit easier.

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