Technical Standards

Originally focusing on areas such as guidance on EDI formats and transactional data formats such as BOSSPROD and BOSPRICE, the technology standards area now supports the active development of e-Commerce with brand new standards such as opXML.

This area also looks ahead to emergent technology such as web services to ensure that members' needs are anticipated and to assess the potential impact on the industry supply chain.

HM Customs & Excise has published a helpful guide on the requirements of the EU Electronic Invoicing legislation for the UK

The guide can be downloaded from HM C&E web-site: http://http//


Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the secure computer-to-computer electronic transfer of structured data between business partners, using agreed message standards. It is commonly used for e-commerce purposes, such as sending orders to warehouses, tracking shipments, and creating invoices. Some common EDI formats include TRADACOMS (U.K.), and EDIFACT (International).

BOSS can provide implementation guidelines covering EDI. Due to the proliferation of trading formats these are now handled on an individual member basis.


Article numbering involves the allocation of a unique and unambiguous identifying number to every unit of sale, so that every variation in size, colour and pack has a separate number. This is designed to provide a common language of communication between manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and dealers.

The EAN system was designed as a superset of the American Universal Product Code System, and can accept any UPC number with no ambiguity. GS1 UK establishes, administers and monitors article numbering and symbol marking in the UK.

For BOSS guidance on the quality of barcodes, please click here.


RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and is also sometimes referred to as Smart Tags, Smart Labels or Next Generation Barcodes. RFID Tags are tiny microchips mounted with an antenna that are attached to manufactured items or embedded in their packaging, which can uniquely identify an item and carry information about it.

RFID tends to be used in the logistics function to identify pallets, shipping containers and the like; and can be used in conjunction with bar codes in automated warehouses to enable the storing, picking and packing of products.

For further information please click here.

 Other Sources of Information

  • For EDI please email [email protected];
  • For all forms of automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) including bar coding and RFID can be found at
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