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GS1 System

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Groceries

Supply chain management, traceability and transparency are important concerns for the modern food industry and they are impossible to manage without standards and consistent processes.

In 1974 a packet of Wrigley's chewing gum was scanned for the first time. The Universal Product Code (UPC) hugely simplified the supermarket checkout process. In 1976 the European retail industry followed, introducing the EAN-Code (European Article Number). Today, organisations across the world operate with Global Standards One (GS1). The barcode (EAN-13) saves time and money and provides control.

In logistics the GS1 identification system enables analysis of all goods movements, supports optimisation of warehousing and real-time inventory management and simplifies order processes. Dedicated GS1 barcodes are used to identify retail and transport units. Items such as batch numbers and expiry dates can also be encoded by means of "Application Identifiers" to go with the unique identification numbers.

It is not only the physical world that benefits from the GS1 system. In electronic data interchange GS1 keys are used as globally unique references. In GS1 eCom messages business partners are uniquely identified with the Global Location Number (GLN) and products with the Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN). In the grocery sector the GS1 EANCOM messages are most widespread. The order (ORDERS), shipping notification (DESADV) and invoice (INVOIC) messages in particular are indispensable these days.

But the supply chain goes further than just the checkout. The GS1 system also satisfies the extra requirements of modern consumers for more transparency, e.g. source and composition of foodstuffs. The fTRACE service, which provides complete batch-level traceability of foodstuffs, is based on GS1 standards. The trustboxdatabase solution can be used for mandatory declarations and to exchange product information between companies and pass it to the consumer, so that all parties involved have the information they need or want.

Whether you are aligning your product range with your customers' requirements, or optimising your delivery processes, or moving to electronic invoicing, or just starting out in e-business: we can assist you from consultancy through to implementation with GS1 standards and their tools.