Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1




Why is it important to register for a GS1 bar code?


  1. Ensure the bar coded numbers that you have is valid as GS1 Malaysia is the only official source for GS1 barcode numbers and standards.

  2. Build confidence to your trading or business partner as your bar coded numbers are valid.

  3. Registration with GS1 ensures that you are a part of a global network of GS1 standards users. This network consists of various players in the global supply chain from retailers to manufacturers, importers and exporters to distributors.

  4. Are able to track and trace your product, especially during the shipping of the product across borders. It is easier to keep track all the product information even though from different countries because you are using a global standard platform which is used by traders around the world.

  5. In order to protect your brand and for the trading partners and customers to verify product authenticity, having a unique GS1 product identification is important across the supply chain.

  6. Easier to access your product information on e-commerce platform.



Question 2




What are the benefits of registering for a GS1 bar code?


  1. Will be able to assist the brand owners in verifying product authenticity (in case of dispute of product identification).

  2. Fast and accurate data capture at every point in the supply chain.

  3. Better inventory control in distribution and storage.

  4. No errors in the recognition of goods as one standard for use with all trading partners, therefore no conflicting bar coded numbers.

  5. Your products can be sold everywhere, locally and overseas in any retail store.



Question 3




Is it compulsory to register?



It is only compulsory to the extent of the requirements set by any of your trading partners. Considering that almost every player in the global retail supply chain require some form of GS1 identification, if it’s not compulsory in your current situation, it may soon become compulsory when you try and expand your business country-wide or worldwide.



Question 4




How do I assign item numbers to my products?



The simple rule is that every product and variant of the same product should be allocated a different number. These variants can be brand, pack size, colour, packaging type, flavour and quality. For example, Brand A orange juice of 1.0 litre will have a different number from Brand A of 2.0 litre.



Question 5




I noticed that at the supermarket when the barcode is scanned, the cash register displays the products information and price. How is this information coded in the bar code?



The bar code symbol does not carry any other information but the identification number given to the product. The retail store keeps all the information of the product including the price in its computer database. The bar coded number is used as reference. When a product is sold at the checkout counter, an electronic scanner “reads” the bar code. The scanner is linked to the retail store’s computer database. The number “picked” up by the scanner is matched against the same number in the database and information of the product and the price is retrieved and flashed back to the cash register. The information of the product is then also printed onto the detailed receipt.


Question 6


Q      Do I change the bar coded number every time I change the price of the product?



No. There is no need to change the bar coded number because the price is not encoded in the bar coded number. Any price changes should be made in the computer’s database.


Question 7


Q      Can I reuse an item number that has previously been allocated to a discontinued product?
A      An item number allocated to a product which has become obsolete or has been withdrawn from the market must not be reassigned to a new product for at least 48 months (4 years). The time period is required so as to ensure that the obsolete or withdrawn bar coded number is no longer listed in the inventory and computer databases of retailers and distributors.

Question 8


Q      We distribute imported products that already have bar codes. Is it necessary for us to re-label the product with our company’s own bar coded number?



No, it is not necessary to re-label the bar codes. The bar codes on the imported products are internationally accepted and can be used in the Malaysian environment and more than ninety-nine other countries worldwide.


Question 9


Q      I noticed that the height of the bar codes has been shortened (truncated) for some products. Can I do the same for the bar code of my product?



Truncation of the bar code symbol is not recommended because it reduces the scanning capability of scanners. Your product may not be able to scan if the height of the bar codes has been cut.




Question 10




Do bar codes always have to be printed as black bars against a white background?


No, various colour combinations can be used. The important principle to remember is there must be sufficient colour contrast between the bars and background. Bar codes must be dark. Black, green, blue and dark brown are suitable colours for printing the bars. The background colour space between the bars must be light. Suitable colours for background are white, orange, red and yellow. A colour guide chart with examples of scannable and unscannable bar codes is available from the GS1 Malaysia.