Unique identification can occur at many different levels in the supply chain, at the transport unit, at the item level, and elsewhere. Such distinct entities are often handled by several parties: the sender, the receiver, one or more carriers, customs authorities, etc. Each of these parties must be able to identify and trace the item so that reference can be made to associated information such as address, order number, contents of the item, weight, sender, batch or lot number, etc. There are considerable benefits if the identity of the item is common between all the relevant parties.
ISO/IEC 15459-2:2006 specifies the procedural requirements to maintain a non-significant, unique identifier for item management applications, and outlines the obligations of the Registration Authority and Issuing Agencies.
ISO/IEC 15459-2:2006 excludes those items where ISO has designated Maintenance Agencies or Registration Authorities to provide identification schemes. It does not apply to
- freight containers, because their unique coding is specified in ISO 6346, Freight containers -- Coding, identification and marking;
- vehicles, because their unique identification is specified in ISO 3779, Road vehicles -- Vehicle identification number (VIN) -- Content and structure;
- car radios, because their unique identification is specified in ISO 10486, Passenger cars -- Car radio identification number (CRIN).
The exclusion also applies to ISO 2108, Information and documentation -- International standard book number (ISBN) and ISO 3297, Information and documentation -- International standard serial number (ISSN).
NOTE The scope of each of ISO 2108 and ISO 3297 identifies the title rather than the individual copy of a book or periodical. As such, the level of identification achieved is at a level higher than the unique identity required to be compliant with ISO/IEC 15459-2:2006.