January 2009: The First PTI Milestone is Around the Corner
Are you ready for the GTIN?
Last October the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) announced a roadmap to external traceability for the fresh produce supply chain (read more about PTI). The first milestone on that roadmap is for brand owners to acquire a unique company identifier by March 31, 2009. This company identifier (also called the company prefix) is the key part of a GTIN. The GTIN in turn is the foundation for creating a standardized way to identify produce for traceability throughout the supply chain.
Here's a quick guide to what the GTIN is, and how you get one:
What is a GTIN?
The Global Trade Identification Number (pronounced "Gee-Tin") is a number that uniquely identifies a brand, and that brand's products. Think of it like the UPC barcode on a consumer item - the first few digits represent the manufacturer, the rest represents the item.
Why do I need my own GTIN?
Can't I still use the 33383 number? By March 31, 2009 any company that sells a product under its own brand has to have a unique company identifier to comply with the PTI. The company identifier will be 6 to 9 digits. Brand owners can no longer use the PMA's 33383 number, because it does not tie a product to the brand owner uniquely. Only one organization can issue these company identifiers: GS1.
How much will it cost?
GS1 is a global non-profit organization, and charges a onetime fee for allocating a unique company identifier, and an ongoing annual fee to maintain it in their database. The actual cost depends on your annual revenue and the number of SKUs and locations you need to identify. The initial fee will range from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars, with an annual renewal fee of several hundred dollars.
How do I figure out how many SKUs I'll need?
This is more complex. PMA has a white paper on deciding how many SKUs you'll need - you can get a copy. The PTI guidelines leave the decision of precision up to the brand owner. As a rule of thumb, if you are a grower/shipper or repacker - you'll potentially need a SKU for each unique item and packaging configuration you ship. For example, 2 commodities each of which can have 3 varieties, 3 quality grades and 4 sizes (2x3x3x4) = 72 SKUs. Wholesalers and distributors will only need a company identifier if they repack. However, the company prefix application doesn't require that you know exactly how many SKUs you'll need, just an order of magnitude (i.e. 1-100, 101-1,000, 1,001-10,0000).
How long does it take to get one?
It should take you about 10 minutes to go through GS1's order form and complete payment with a credit card. Note, there is no "grower" identification - only "manufacturer" or "broker". Once you complete your application, it should take 1 day to get a GS1 Company Prefix Certificate.
Okay, now how do I implement external traceability?
Please contact us or call (866) 76 T-R-U-S-T. We can help you figure out how to implement traceability in your workflow - whether it's field-packed or line-packed - and figure out how you can use traceability to improve your operations.