Founded in 1977, GS1 is an international not-for-profit association with Member Organisations in over 100 countries dedicated to the design and implementation of global standards and solutions to improve the efficiency and visibility of supply and demand chains globally and across sectors. The GS1 system of standards is the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world mainly for retail. Automotive is using ODETTE/AIAG specification. The electronic industry is using EDIFICE specifications. Postal services may based on UPU specifications. Health industry is using HIBC and GS1. Blood donation services use e.g. ISBT specifications. All these systems can be used parallel because they are based all on the same ISO Issuing Agency registration principles (see external links).
GS1’s main activity is the development of the GS1 System, a series of specifications designed to improve supply-chain management. The GS1 System is composed of four key standards: Barcodes (used to automatically identify things), eCom (electronic business messaging standards allowing automatic electronic transmission of data), GDSN (Global Data Synchronisation standards which allow business partners to have consistent item data in their systems at the same time) and EPCglobal (which uses RFID technology to immediately track an item).
GS1, formerly called ‘EAN International’, adopted the name ‘GS1′ in 2005. GS1 has its head office in Brussels. There are GS1 member organizations in over 100 countries.
GS1 maintains a list of data identifiers (code prefixes) used by GS1 member organizations to assign company identifiers to their member companies enabling them to create GS1 compliant identification keys. Globally, GS1 Specifications are dependent of international standardisation bodies as with joint standards of ISO and IEC, as e.g. with ISO/IEC 11179 (metadata registries), ISO/IEC 15418 (data identifiers) and ISO/IEC 18000-6C (RFID air interfaces).
GS1 codes do not provide identification of country of origin for a given product. Member companies may manufacture products anywhere in the world.
GS1 is the short cut for the name Global Standards ONE. ISO is the main world wide standardization organisation. GS1 publishes the GS1 General Specifications. These are based fully on ISO standards. Correctly GS1 is called an Issuing Agency registered by the principles of ISO/IEC 15459-2. The register of Issuing Agencies is available at NEN. GS1 staff brings a lot of input to ISO. GS1 publishes a lot of specifications. GS1 is not a standardization organisation like ISO (or ANSI). Therefore the name Global Standards One is a little misleading.
GS1 is financing itself by selling the company code identification to their members. Additionally GS1 offers conferences, consulting for using GS1 specifications and trainings for members and non members.