The GS1 DataBar is encoded with a 14-digit Global Trade Item Number or GTIN. It enables the capture of brand-owner identification for loose produce instead of only the category of the item via the PLU code. Although it will identify the brand owner, it does not contain information to assist with full traceability efforts (i.e., batch/lot number or pack date).
The implementation of GS1 DataBar barcodes on PLU stickers has many advantages to both retailers and suppliers.
The PLU sticker with the 4- or 5-digit PLU code alone provides information required to charge the correct price at the point of sale but provides limited information for category management.
Retailers who successfully implement the GS1 DataBar barcode for scanning realize many benefits. The point-of-sale (POS) transaction time is reduced from 4 seconds to manually key the 4- or 5-digit PLU code to 1 second to scan the barcode. They are able to implement category management down to supplier and item level and can determine the sell through (retail units sold vs. purchased) by item and by supplier. This information can indicate the effectiveness of each supplier's cold chain and guide the retailer’s decision as to which suppliers they purchase from. Retailers are also able to understand sales and profits by supplier and by variety, no longer just at the item or category level.
Retailers can use the data to enhance their Computer Assisted Ordering process and, when dealing with a recall, can verify which stores scanned the recalled product and take appropriate action based on this information.
Gross margins increase due to scanning accuracy, eliminating the potential for human error that can occur when using manual PLU entry. Many cashiers memorize PLU codes or sometimes enter them incorrectly. Some do not read the PLU sticker, assuming the product is conventional when it is organic or enter the wrong PLU code. Not all red apples are Red Delicious!
Customers using the self-checkout stations report increased satisfaction with the process when GS1 DataBar scanning is enabled.
The benefits of GS1 DataBar to suppliers are discrete visibility of their product’s quality, sell through and shrink in each of their customer’s supply chains, brand differentiation and category management that facilitates collaboration with retailers and longer term planning.
For each PLU-coded product you sell, you will need to create a corresponding 14-digit GTIN using the following steps:
GS1 Company Prefixes will rannge in length from 7 to 11 digits, depending on the company’s capacity, so item reference number lengths will also vary as indicated in the following chart.
The GS1 Stacked Omnidirectional DataBar has a 14-digit data structure for the product identification number.
For the United States and Canada, the 14-digit GTIN for the GS1 DataBar is built using the GTIN-12 and includes the following components:
For the Rest of the World, the 14-digit GTIN is built using the GTIN-13.
It is not advised to assign the PLU code as the item reference number (e.g., a company having an 8-digit or 9-digit Company Prefix will not have enough digits to use a 4-digit PLU as an item reference number). The owner of the Company Prefix can assign whatever numbers they wish as the item reference number, but it is suggested that no intelligence is built into the Item Reference Numbers. Instead, start with the number '0' and continue to assign the numbers in sequence for all items in your product catalog.
It is recommended that GTINs are assigned to your items using the same granularity as the PLU code (Commodity, Variety, Size Group). As most retailers' systems are used to this level of granularity, it will make the transition much easier if each companies' GTINs equate to this level of granularity.
There are label manufacturers available to assist with the creation of the GS1 DataBar on your PLU stickers.
The International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS), in collaboration with the industry and GS1 organizations, released the Implementation of GS1 DataBar for the Global Fresh Produce Industry. This guide was created as a resource to assist with implementation of GS1 DataBar.
This guide explains what a GS1 DataBar is, the benefits and challenges of implementation, the steps to begin using the GS1 DataBar, the regional requirements of Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United States as well as Frequently Asked Questions for additional guidance.
This resource is available for download on the Resources page of the IFPS website.Read Less
With the implementation of GS1 DataBar increasing, PMA created a simple data synchronization tool called DataBar Online. DataBar Online acts as a central repository for data exchange and provides a single point of contact between trading partners. The tool is designed for use by sellers of loose/bulk produce to communicate their 14-digit GTINs and corresponding PLU codes to their buyers...Read More
With the implementation of GS1 DataBar increasing, PMA created a simple data synchronization tool called DataBar Online. DataBar Online acts as a central repository for data exchange and provides a single point of contact between trading partners. The tool is designed for use by sellers of loose/bulk produce to communicate their 14-digit GTINs and corresponding PLU codes to their buyers. Buyers can then download this information into their point-of-sale systems to scan the GS1 DataBar on individual produce items rather than manually entering the PLU code to identify the product.
It is important to note that DataBar Online is used for item-level identification only (e.g., PLU-coded produce); it is not intended for package- or case-level identification.
Buyers can contact PMA’s Supply Chain Efficiencies team to register for free download access.
Suppliers can register for upload access in DataBar Online by logging into the PMA e-store using their PMA credentials. A new account will need to be created if one does not already exist.
Once logged into the e-store, suppliers will be directed to the Events page. From there, they will select Products in the menu at the top of the page, then select DataBar Online, where they will be guided through the registration process.
When the registration process is complete, an order confirmation with a link for instant access to DataBar Online will appear (this will take longer if payment is made by check). It is recommended that this link is saved for future access.
DataBar Online can also be accessed by logging in to pma.com and selecting My Subscriptions at the top of the page.
After registering for DataBar Online, subscribers should take some time to become familiar with the product and learn how to create, upload, and update their files and download their data. A comprehensive tutorial provides step-by-step instructions. FAQs are also available for additional guidance.
Buyers can log in to DataBar Online and select individual suppliers to download or opt to download the entire database of GTINs.
Note: It is advised that buyers download the entire database to avoid omitting GTINs that have been uploaded by third-party companies. Failure to do so could result in ‘not on file’ scans and other scanning issues.
For additional implementation resources, buyers can contact PMA’s Supply Chain Efficiencies team.
To begin using DataBar Online, suppliers must build their 14-digit GTINs for each produce item. The first step to building item-level GTINs is to obtain a GS1 Company Prefix. (Information on how to correctly build 14-digit GTINs can found in the article, GS1 DataBar.) The second step is to assign the corresponding PLU code. PLUs for each commodity can be searched within DataBar Online. All 4-digit PLUs must begin with a three (3) or a four (4,) and all 5-digit PLUs must begin with a nine (9) to indicate an organic commodity. Detailed information for PLU codes can be found in the PLU Search section of the International Federation of Produce Standards (IFPS) website.
Retailer assigned codes cannot be used in place of valid PLU codes as these codes are assigned to different commodities by different retailers. Uploading these codes in DataBar Online could inadvertently corrupt a retailer's point-of-sale system. Retailer assigned codes must be communicated to retailers directly.
When GTIN and PLU code assignment is complete, the next step is to build an Excel comma-delimited (.csv) file with the 14-digit GTINs in the first column and the corresponding 4- or 5-digit PLU codes in the second column. This is the file used to upload the data in DataBar Online. Once the .csv file is created, the data should be verified using a text editor, such as Notepad. Note that multiple GTINs may correspond with a single PLU code. Detailed instructions on uploading data can be found in the Tutorial.
All subsequent data that is uploaded will be appended to the current data and create a running GTIN list. No data will be overwritten.
Following the initial upload, the GTINs can be updated individually as needed in the Update Online section of DataBar.
To update individual GTINs in DataBar Online, suppliers have the option to add, revise or delete records through the Update Online feature. The Download option can also be used to verify the uploaded data.
Retailers and other buyers can download supplier data manually or use the web service option to automatically download the information. The automatic web service ensures that buyers have the most current data.
Suppliers who are PMA members pay a one-time access fee of $300. Non-member suppliers pay a one-time access fee of $1,100.
To become a PMA member, please contact PMA’s Member Services via email or phone at +1 (302) 738-7100.
There is no charge for buyers to access or download data from DataBar Online. Retailers, wholesalers and distributors interested in using the DataBar Online tool can contact PMA’s Supply Chain Efficiencies team directly.
All DataBar Online registrants will also receive a complimentary registration to UPC Link to assist with transitioning from the use of generic UPCs to company-specific UPCs.
On November 13, 2019, CPMA and PMA issued a joint press release announcing that generic UPCs would no longer be issued beginning January 1, 2020. It is strongly recommended that all growers/packers transition away from using generic UPC-12s (UPC-12s beginning with 033383) due to the growing number of retailers who will not accept them and begin to transition to the use of company-specific...Read More
On November 13, 2019, CPMA and PMA issued a joint press release announcing that generic UPCs would no longer be issued beginning January 1, 2020. It is strongly recommended that all growers/packers transition away from using generic UPC-12s (UPC-12s beginning with 033383) due to the growing number of retailers who will not accept them and begin to transition to the use of company-specific UPCs. It is suggested that, once growers/packers have exhausted their packaging inventory, they begin to transition to the use of company-specific UPCs.
Reasons to Convert:
How to Convert to Company-Specific UPCs?
Step 1. Obtain a GS1 Company Prefix if your company does not already have one. To check, enter your company name in GEPIR. If you determine that you need to obtain a GS1 Company Prefix, please visit the GS1 US website.
Step 2. Create a new UPC-12 (GTIN-12) for each of your packaged products that use generic UPCs. It is recommended to not use any logic in creating the number. Use the next available UPC-12 using your GS1 Company Prefix. For more information on building your company-specific GTINs, see Global Trade Item Number.
Step 3. Notify your packaging company and packaging designer of your transition plans to ensure no new packaging will use generic UPCs.
Step 4. Contact each of your customers to notify them of the new UPC number and the generic UPC number it will be replacing. Use this as an opportunity to make contact with potential customers that you do not do business with currently as your product could end up in their stores via the wholesale channel.
For an in-depth look at the impact of sunsetting generic UPCs and the benefits of using company-specific UPCs on packaged produce labeling, PMA, CPMA and GS1 US conducted a webinar called Generic UPCs and DataBar: Changes Coming in Produce Product Identification.Read Less
GS1 is a global standards organization with over 108 member organizations. Its objective is to assist the industry in identifying, capturing and sharing information throughout the supply chain within your company.