NCS/EAN linkage

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3. The EAN International scheme

ean.gif (4211 bytes)GS1, formerly EAN International, is a non-profit, business-led association managing a world wide system that enables identification of items, trade and logistic units, services and locations. The purpose is to provide a common language for international trade and commerce applicable to virtually all industrial and commercial sectors. The system includes standards that cover identification and supplementary information, bar code specifications, now called Global Trade Identification Numbers (GTIN), and an internationally used subset of EDIFACT messages called EANCOM.

EAN is based on the "Item of Production" concept. This refers to those parts or objects grouped under the same manufacturer reference number, conforming to the same engineering drawings, specifications, and inspection tests. Unlike the NCS, EAN numbering is non-significant, and no classification of products exists. The only "classification" appears in the process of allocating the forefront part of each number string to participating organisations, preserving in this way the uniqueness of each twelve (UPC-12) or thirteen-digit number (EAN 13) allocated to a product. To ensure accuracy, both schemes conclude with check digits, calculated by an internationally agreed algorithm.

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