A company prefix is represented by the first few leading digits of a barcode number. Company prefixes in an EAN-13 or UPC-A barcode can be anywhere between 5 and 11 digits long, this is otherwise known as a “variable length prefix”. Re-seller barcodes such as ours are generally subdivided from a large batch of numbers with a consistent prefix. This is why most re-sellers do not offer unique company prefixes. Two products from different companies may share the same prefix while the full barcode numbers used to identify each product are unique from one another.
Having a company prefix is generally not a requirement for retailers. Most retailers simply need a globally unique barcode number to identify the product at point of sale. However it should be noted that a few major retailers may prefer vendors provide company prefix for use in their EDI systems. Other major retailers may require direct GS1 membership as part of their vendor policy.
The common route for obtaining a company prefix is to join the Hong Kong branch of GS1 directly. Once a prefix is issued by GS1 Hong Kong a company can begin assigning product codes within the allocated range e.g. 000 – 999. Then a final check digit is generated making the barcode valid. Direct GS1 membership however requires annual fees to maintain the issued prefix which is essentially licensed rather than bought outright. Product owners may also run into difficulties allocating the product numbers, generating the correct check digit and creating the digital barcode image files.
How to get a company prefix at Barcode Savers
Packages of 10, 100 or 1000 barcodes supplied through Barcode Savers purchase page will come with a globally unique prefix. We use the same method applied by GS1 when issuing “variable length” prefixes for smaller ranges of allocation. Packages that include a globally unique prefix are:
10 package – includes an 11 digit company prefix with product code allocation 0 – 9 (for up to 10 unique products)
100 package – includes a 10 digit company prefix with product code allocation 00 – 99 (for up to 100 unique products)
1000 package – includes a 9 digit unique company prefix product code allocation 000 – 999 (for up to 1000 unique products)
Each package includes the company prefix, product allocation range and calculated final check digit completed along with high resolution barcode image files (EPS, JEPG and TIFF).
Our numbers predate GS1’s subscription model and do not incur any annual fees. Therefore when purchasing a company prefix through barcode savers the prefix and barcode numbers are owned by you, rather than licensed (rented).
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