Sunrise 2005 – An industry initiative established by GS1 US (formerly the Uniform Code Council)
. As of January 1st 2005, all North American retailers and trading partners that scan Universal Product Codes (UPC) should have expanded the data structures associated with the UPC to a 13-digit field length to process EAN-13 symbols. Additionally, GS1 US recommended all manufacturers, retailers, and distributors update and expand their databases and applications to accept 14-digit data structures. These data structures will support the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), allowing complete item identification of any EAN.UCC data carrier to support efficient and seamless global trade.
14-digits vs. 13-digits
The Sunrise 2005 initiative was focused on creating a compliant environment for scanning and processing EAN-13 and EAN-8 codes in addition to the 12-digit UPC symbols currently scanned at point-of-sale in North America . While the initiative does not explicitly state inclusion of 14-digit data structures, it is highly recommended that all parties who upgraded their systems for Sunrise 2005 compliance take the additional steps to make their systems compliant with the GTIN.
In addition, upgrading systems for GTIN compliance allowed scanning of all levels of packaging (ITF-14, or case codes, can be processed) as well as emergent technologies such as GS1 Databar (originally named RSS Reduced Space Symbology).
Sunrise 2005 – Where are we now?
With the exception of the United States and Canada , retail products from around the world are marked with EAN-8 and EAN-13 symbols prior to 2005. To sell those products in the U.S. and Canada , manufacturers were required to re-label their products with a 12-digit UPC symbol. This created additional expense and time-to-market issues. Expanding system capability to scan and process EAN-8 and EAN-13 symbols as well as UPC symbols allowed companies to handle a greater range of products.
The number of products identified with EAN-8 and EAN-13 symbols increased quickly after January 1, 2005 because UCC prefixes were no longer issued to new companies based outside of the U.S. and Canada. These new companies need only to use EAN-8 or EAN-13 symbols to mark their products.
Who did the Sunrise 2005 impact?
The Sunrise 2005 initiative impacted:
- Those who assigned product numbers:
Any organization or manufacturer which assigned product numbers for trade items or services needed to be aware of the new guidelines to ensure compliance with trade partners and suppliers.
- Those that turned numbers into bar codes:
Packagers, commercial printers, and graphics and layout specialists needed to be aware for the new guidelines to ensure compliance for their customers.
- Those that use bar codes in applications:
Retailers, distributors, or any receivers of trade items (which may also include manufacturers and suppliers) needed to be aware of the new guidelines to ensure their own systems are compliant.
What kind of impact did Sunrise 2005 date have on organizations?
Receivers of trade items must be able to scan 12-digit UPC , EAN-13 & EAN-8 symbols. It is expected receivers now see 14-digit numbers used to identify all levels of packaging on products as well as emergent codes like GS1 Databar (aka Reduced Space Symbology). All of the above may have manufacturer prefixes that are longer than in the past. If there are any system ‘blocks’ against reading manufacturer numbers longer than six digits these must be removed to accommodate the new standards.
Suppliers or manufacturers who previously marked their products with 12-digit UPC codes do not need to change their procedures. However, any trade items you purchase may have longer numbers or manufacturer prefixes. Ensure your database storage systems are capable of storing up to 14-digits and do not have any system blocks on manufacturer prefixes longer than six digits. If your company or organization is multi-national, you may already be using longer company prefixes assigned by one or more EAN member organizations.
Data storage and applications requirements checklist:
- Systems and applications need to expand to accommodate 14-digits
- Data structures that require less than 14-digits should be right justified and left zero filled
- The full 14-digit structure should be transmitted when communicating GTINs electronically
In order to further maximize the possible number combinations for the UPC , GS1 US has opening up three new Number System Characters (the ‘lead digit’ of a UPC ) for use. These are 1, 8, and 9. Any database or system blocks against using these characters must be removed immediately. If there are any internal systems that use these lead digits for proprietary use, these need to be discontinued as well.
Additionally, GS1 US now issues manufacturer’s prefixes with variable lengths up to 10-digits. If there are applications in use with your system which ‘assume’ that the manufacturer’s prefix is only 6-digits long, then these need to be modified to accept the new lengths.
So what did not change? Lead digits 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are all still in use. Current members of the GS1 who already have and use their prefix can still use it, provided system storage capacity of numbers is updated as briefed above. The numbers and symbols created using a currently assigned GS1 prefix will continue to be unique.