In today’s global marketplace, most retailers and wholesalers require a unique identifier be assigned for every product.
Unlike a supplier’s proprietary part number, the required identifier needs to be globally unique and adhere to a world wide standard. In the United States , this product identifier is the UPC number.
A UPC number consists of two components: a Company Prefix and a Product Number. The Company Prefix is assigned by a not-for-profit organization, GS1 US (formerly the Uniform Code Council.)
Aside from managing the database of company prefixes, the GS1 is responsible for the establishment and implementation of global commerce standards for markings and communication.