Introduction to the related terminologies:
GS1 (link) is a not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains global standards for business communication. GS1 standards are designed to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels in 25 sectors. They form a business language that identifies, captures and shares key information about products, locations, assets and more (more about GS1 link).
An Electronic Product Code (EPC) is a universal identifier that gives a unique identity to a specific physical object, such as a retail product. EPCs are encoded on RFID tags which can be used to track all kinds of objects including: trade items, fixed assets, documents, or reusable transport items. An EPC always relates to a unique individual item and thus a GTIN is paired with a serial number to form the context of the SGTIN EPC schema (more about EPC link).
Header – Identifies the length, type, structure, version, and generation of the EPC
EPC Manager Number – Entity responsible for maintaining the subsequent partitions
Object Class – Identifies a class of objects
Serial Number – Identifies the instance
Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) is a global GS1 Standard for creating and sharing visibility event data, both within and across enterprises, to enable users to gain a shared view of physical or digital objects within a relevant business context. According to GS1, the goal of EPCIS is to enable companies to create and share data. EPCIS does this with events. The goal of EPCIS 1.1 is to enable disparate applications to leverage EPC data by sharing that data. The EPC data is shared within and across enterprise boundaries. Sharing this data enables all participants within an EPCIS 1.1-compliant ecosystem to gain visibility into the status of all EPC “marked” digital or physical items (also known as EPCIS “objects”) within a given business context. Simply put, EPCIS 1.1 provides a framework that allows trading partners to know the status of a given trade item or conveyance. EPCIS events affect the status of a trade item or conveyance by changing or setting the object’s disposition (its current state, such as sold, expired, recalled, in transit, or active). The fundamental purpose of all EPCIS events is to provide details on the “What”, “Where”, “When”, and “Why” of items as they move through the supply chain. In EPCIS parlance, these are known as the four dimensions of an EPCIS event (more about EPCIS link).• What: The “What” refers to the objects that participated in the EPCIS event.
- The “What” refers to the objects that participated in the EPCIS event.
- The “Where” refers to where the event took place, and is indicated by an SGLN (Serialized Global Location Number).
- When did this EPCIS event occur? The When is indicated by an event Time attribute on the event. Some EPCIS systems will let events be captured without regard to chronological order.
- Why did this event occur? For example, to ship product, the product must be commissioned and packed into containers. The containers must then be packed onto pallets and finally, shipped to its destination. Each of these steps in the process can be represented by an EPCIS event.