The Global Language of Business

A.1 Glossary of terms




An actor is a role that a user plays with respect to a system.

GS1 Application Identifier

The field of two or more digits at the beginning of an Element String that uniquely defines its format and meaning.


The batch or lot number associates an item with information the manufacturer considers relevant for traceability of the trade item. The data may refer to the trade item itself or to items contained in it.

Consumer Unit

The package size of a product or products agreed by trading partners as the size sold at the retail point of sale.

Data Carrier

A means to represent data in a machine readable form; used to enable automatic reading of the Element Strings.


An Event has four dimensions:

What: what physical objects were involved (GTIN)

When: when the Event took place (timestamp)

Where: where the Event took place (Location identifier (GLN))

Why: what business step was being carried out

External Traceability

External Traceability takes place when instances of a Traceable Item are physically handed over from one Traceability partner (Traceable Item source) to another Traceability partner (Traceable Item recipient).

Fresh Food Trade Items

Trade items in the following product categories: fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, bakery and ready to serve food such as cheese, cold cooked or cured meats, and salad, etc. Fresh foods is defined as food that is not preserved by canning, dehydration, freezing or smoking.

GIAI (Global Individual Asset Identifier)

The GS1 identification key used to identify an individual asset. The key comprises a GS1 Company Prefix and individual asset reference.

GLN (Global Location Number)

The GS1 Identification Key used to identify physical locations or legal entities. The key comprises a GS1 Company Prefix, Location Reference, and Check Digit.

GTIN (Global Trade Item Number)

The GS1 Identification Key used to identify trade items. The key comprises a GS1 Company Prefix, an Item Reference and Check Digit.

Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI)

The GS1 Identification Key used to identify an Individual Asset. The key comprises a GS1 Company Prefix and Individual Asset Reference.

GS1 DataBar Expanded Bar Code

A barcode that encodes any GS1 identification key plus attribute data, such as weight and “best before” date, in a linear symbol that can be scanned omnidirectionally by suitably programmed point-of-sale scanners.

GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked Bar Code

A barcode that is a variation of the GS1 DataBar expanded barcode that is stacked in multiple rows and is used when the normal symbol would be too wide for the application.

GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional Bar Code

A barcode that encodes a GTIN. It is designed to be read by omnidirectional scanners.

GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional Bar Code

A barcode that is a variation of the GS1 DataBar symbology that is stacked in two rows and is used when the GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional symbol would be too wide for the application. It is designed to be read by omnidirectional checkout scanners.

GS1 System

The specifications, standards, and guidelines administered by GS1.

Human Readable Interpretation (HRI)

Characters, such as letters and numbers, which can be read by persons and are encoded in GS1 AIDC data carriers confined to a GS1 standard structure and format. The human readable interpretation is a one-to-one illustration of the encoded data. However start, stop, shift and function characters, as well as the symbol check character, are not shown in the human readable interpretation.


Refer to GLN and GTIN

Identification Carrier

Mark / tag / label / accompanying document sometimes called "passport" or "identity card" or "Pedigree" in some industry sectors

Internal Process

A series of actions, changes or function(s) within an organisation or an organisation that brings about a result.

Internal Traceability

Internal Traceability takes place when a Traceability partner receives one or several instances of traceable items as inputs that are subjected to internal processes, before one or several instances of traceable items are output.


Recording the information necessary to establish the relationship to other relevant information.


A place where a traceable item is or could be located [ISO/CD 22519]. A place of production, handling, storage and/or sale.

Logistic Unit

An item of any composition established for transport and/or storage that needs to be managed through the supply chain. It is identified with an SSCC.

Loose Produce Trade Items

Fruits and vegetables which are delivered to the store loose, in boxes or cases, and then put into a bag or selected individually by the customer for purchase.

Master Data

Within the context of Data Synchronisation, any data that is applicable across multiple business transactions. Master Data describes each Item or Party involved in Supply Chain Processes. A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) or a Global Location Number (GLN) uniquely identifies each data set. Master Data can be divided into neutral and relationship dependent data


A Party (or) Location is any legal or physical entity involved at any point in any supply chain and upon which there is a need to retrieve pre-defined information. A Party is uniquely identified by a Global Location Number (GLN).

Point-of-Sale (POS)

Refers to the retail checkout where omnidirectional barcodes must be used to enable very rapid scanning or low volume checkout where linear or 2D matrix barcodes are used with image-based scanners.

Produce Lookup Code (PLU)

PLU codes are used in retail locations to facilitate the checkout process. PLUs identify bulk and random or variable weight fruits and vegetables (and related items such as nuts and herbs). PLU numbers are printed on a small label that is attached directly to individual fruits and vegetables. They consist of a four or five digit number. Four-digit PLUs identify conventionally grown fruits and vegetables while a 9 is added at the beginning of the PLU to identify the item as organic.


In a GS1 context this refers to a business process. This is a series of actions, or functions that transform an input into an output to assist in meeting an organisation’s objectives. Inputs and outputs may be data, physical entities or a mixture of both, examples being order to cash, collaborative planning, warehouse management and cross-docking.

Product Description

GS1 Global definition: A piece of information reflecting a characteristic related to an identification number [e.g., an expiration date or a product description related to a GTI].


A precise number of articles, pieces or units. Used in conjunction with Unit of Measure.

Receipt Date

GS1 Global definition: Date/time upon which the goods were received by a given party.


Act of creating a permanent piece of information constituting an account of something that has occurred.

Restricted Circulation Number (RCN)

Signifies a GS1 identification number used for special applications in restricted environments, either defined by local GS1 Member Organisations (for regional applications such as variable measure product identification and couponing) or by a company (for internal applications).

Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC)

The GS1 Identification Key used to identify logistics units. The key comprises an Extension digit, GS1 Company Prefix, Serial Reference, and Check Digit.

SGTIN (Serialised Global Trade Identification Number)

SGTIN is a method of identifying items at the unit or retail level as well as at the case and carton levels. It is composed of a GS1 assigned Company Prefix & Item Reference (GTIN), combined with a Serial Number. Where GS1 barcodes have traditionally been used, the SGTIN specification combined with an EPC tag can give visibility beyond the Item Reference right down to the exact serial number of the item.


Act of exchanging information about an entity or traceable item with another Trading Partner.

Ship Date

Date on which goods should be shipped or despatched by the Supplier.

Ship from Location

Identification of the party from where goods will be or have been shipped.

Ship to Location

Identification of the party to where goods will be or have been shipped.


A grouping of logistics and transport units assembled and identified by the seller (sender) of the goods travelling under one despatch advice and/or Bill of Lading to one customer (recipient).

Shipment Reference Number

The reference number assigned to a shipment.


[ISO 9001: 2000] Traceability is the ability to trace the history, application or location of that which is under consideration.

Traceability Data

Any information about the history, application or location of a traceable item, either Master Data or Transactional Data.

Traceable Item

A physical object that may or may not be a trade item, where there may be a need to retrieve information about its history, application, or location. The level at which the traceable item is defined is dependent on the industry and degree of control required (for example within a product packaging or logistical hierarchy). It could be tracked, traced, recalled or withdrawn. It could exist in multiple locations at the same time (for example, if identified at the trade item and batch level). A traceable item may be related to another traceable item. It is the choice of the Traceability Partner which identification level (e.g. GTIN or Lot/Batch or serial level) to use for the traceable item. See also definition for process

Trace Request

A formal inquiry about the history, application, or location of a traceable item. A request can trigger subsequent trace requests up or down the supply chain in order to fulfil the original request

Tracing (Tracing Back)

The ability to identify the origin, attributes, or history of a particular traceable item located within the supply chain by reference to records held. Tracking backand “tracking forwardare the preferred terms used in this document.

Tracking (Tracking Forward)

The ability to follow the path of a traceable item through the supply chain as it moves between parties.

Trade Item

Any item (product or service) upon which there is a need to retrieve pre-defined information and that may be priced, or ordered, or invoiced at any point in any supply chain.

Trading Partner

Any Supply Chain Partner that has a direct impact on the flow of goods through the supply chain. Examples include Third Party Logistics Provider, Manufacturer, Retailer, and Grower.


A change to the nature of a traceable item that changes the identity and/or the characteristics of the traceable item. The act of changing the item such as combining ingredients to make a finished product or case picking to create a new pallet. Transformation can be production, aggregation, grouping, splitting, mixing, compounding, packing and repacking traceable items.


The Traceability Partner that receives, carries, and delivers one or more traceable items from one point to another without transforming the traceable item(s). Typically only has possession, custody, or control of a traceable item, but may have ownership.

Unit of Measure

The unit of measure relating to a specific quantity.

Reference to a unit of measure code that optionally applies to the quantities value. Example of units of measure include pound, metre, kilo.

Variable Measure Trade Item

Variable Measure Trade Item is an item which is priced, ordered or invoiced in quantities which can vary, such as fruit and vegetables, meat, cheese, rope, chain, fabric, carpets on a roll, etc.

The complete identification of a Variable Measure Trade Item consists of both its identification number and its variable data.

For Retail Variable Measure Trade Items either the price or the quantity of the given unit must be included in the barcode to be read at the checkout.

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