GS1 Identification Keys

The underpinning foundation of the GS1 System of Standards is the provision of a unique number that can be used internationally for identification throughout the supply chain. This number is known as a GS1 Identification Key.



These GS1 Identification Keys can be put together to identify everything in a supply chain.

Click to enlarge image

As shown in the table below, individual GS1 Identification Keys identify different items:


What needs to be identified


Identification Key


CDs sold online or a cake sold in shops

GTIN (Global trade Item Number)

Logistics units

Pallets, containers, roll cages

SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code)

Parties and locations

Companies, warehouses, factories, stores

GLN (Global Location Number)

Returnable equipment used for transporting goods

Pallet bases, crates, totes

GRAI (Global Returnable Asset Identifier)

Assets such as high value equipment

Medical equipment, manufacturing equipment

GIAI (Global Individual Asset Identifier)


Members of a customer loyalty scheme, patients, employees

GSRN (Global Service Relation Number)


Papers including tax demands, shipment forms, insurance policies, driving licences

GDTI (Global Document Type Identifier)

Freight Consignment

Logistics units that comprise a single consignment

GINC (Global Identification Number for Consignment)

A grouping of logistics units that travel under one despatch advice of bill of lading

Customs authorities identify shipments going in and out of the country

GSIN (Global Shipment Identification Number)


A money-off paper, electronic or mobile coupon

GCN (Global Coupon Number)

Components and parts

Components or parts that have to go through at least one more transformation process to create final products, such as a drive motor for a washing machine, or a pipe or tube

CPID (Component / Part Identifier)

Concertina Set

If you need a GS1 barcode then you need to join GS1 HK.

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For technical information about GS1 System of Standards, visit our Standards Library.


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