An Introduction to the Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI)
A Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI) is the GS1 Identification Key used to identify a returnable asset. This unique identifier is comprised of a GS1 Company Prefix, an Asset Type, a Check Digit, and an optional serial number.
What is a GRAI used for?
The GRAI is one of the two GS1® keys used for asset identification. GRAI is used to identify returnable assets, re-usable packages, or transport equipment, such as a tray, pallet, or beer keg.
The GRAI enables returnable assets to be identified by type or individually for tracking or inventory purposes. In simple terms, this means an asset that will be sent outside the company and will be used for multiple trips.
The GRAI identifies the asset being used for the purpose of tracking its location and return. It can be used for tracking only or as part of a lease or rental system in which companies collaborate on the use of these assets.
Key Attributes of the GRAI
The GRAI will identify each individual asset type uniquely, thus ensuring that it is always identified correctly anywhere within a business or throughout the world. Each asset type is allocated an Asset Type number to ensure that it can be identified correctly. There is an option to also include a serial number, which will allow unique identification of each instance of the asset type. The GRAI itself has no meaning, so the asset can be looked up in a database and its associated information retrieved at any point or location.
GRAIs will work in any business sector. Having an identifier for a returnable asset allows businesses to identify, track, and manage their assets. Because GRAIs are based on the GS1 System, derived using a GS1 Company Prefix, an Asset Type and, optionally, a serial number, allocation of numbers is simple and uniqueness is guaranteed.
If your business uses returnable assets and you want to track and manage them, GRAI is an effective tool to enable this capability. Assets may have their GRAI in either a barcode or encoded in an EPC-enabled RFID tag.
Business Benefits of Using GRAIs
There are a number of benefits to using the GRAI to identify returnable assets:
v The structure of the GRAI and its assignment rules are administered by GS1, a not-for-profit standards organisation that is supported by implementation guidance, business examples, and maintenance.
v The GRAI can be used throughout world with no need for trading partner(s) to assign proprietary numbers to ensure uniqueness.
v The GRAI offers a low-cost solution to the challenge of tracking assets.
v The GRAI employs the globally accepted GS1 System, whose language is standardized, understood, and used by multiple industries.
v The GRAI uses existing printing, scanning, and database storage methods, making it a low-cost option for organizations searching for a solution to marking and tracking assets that are either rented or loaned.
v The GRAI provides a standard format for organizing, displaying, and communicating data, allowing all members of the industry or process to benefit from improved control, information, and efficiencies.
v The “open” approach of the GRAI promotes innovation and the development of systems and applications to identify, track, and manage these assets.
v Use of the GRAI helps to produce improved accuracy and completeness of a firm’s information.
v The GRAI eliminates redundant activities and reduces or eliminates paperwork.
How is the GRAI formed?
A GRAI is formed with the following components:
ü APPLICATION IDENTIFIER (AI): AI (8003) to indicate GRAI
ü LEADING ZERO: Added to the leftmost position to generate 14 digits in the asset identification
ü GS1 COMPANY PREFIX: A globally unique number issued to a GS1 member company
ü ASSET TYPE: The number allocated to identify the returnable asset
ü CHECK DIGIT: A modulo 10 digit used to check for input errors
ü SERIAL NUMBER: An optional alpha-numeric identification for individual returnable asset
Note: GRAI is a 14 digit numerical number, including a zero in the leftmost position and the
ending Check Digit. The combined length of the GS1 Company Prefix and Asset Type will always
total 12 digits.
The following steps are used to form GRAIs:
1. START WITH YOUR GS1 COMPANY PREFIX. Your GS1 Company Prefix is the globally unique number issued to your company by GS1 US® or another GS1 Member Organization. GS1 Company Prefixes are assigned to companies in varying lengths.
2. CREATE THE ASSET TYPE. The Asset Type is a number assigned by you, the holder of the GS1 Company Prefix, to uniquely identify a type of returnable asset within your company. The Asset Type varies in length as a function of the GS1 Company Prefix length. Note that the combined length of the GS1 Company Prefix and Asset Type is always 12 digits.
Hint: Assign your Asset Types sequentially, and do not build any intelligence into the number. The scheme that defines a particular Asset Type range as having a set meaning today will mean nothing a short time into the future when your company reorganizes, buys or merges with another firm, or another staff member takes over GRAI assignment duties.
3. CALCULATE THE CHECK DIGIT. The Check Digit is a calculated one-digit number used to ensure data integrity. To understand how this digit is calculated
4. (OPTIONAL) ASSIGN THE SERIAL NUMBER: The serial number gives you the option of tracking not only specific returnable asset types, but also specific instances of each asset type (i.e., not just a rolling rack, but this specific rolling rack). You can assign an alphanumeric serial number up to 16 characters in length for each GRAI. Again, we recommend assigning serial numbers sequentially, not building any type of intelligence into the serial number itself.