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GS1 standards as a gateway to Industry 4.0

Topics such as modern materials management, sustainable data management, global traceability and customer-oriented plant maintenance make GS1 standards an important tool for the technical industries. GS1 Switzerland places a focus on the industry in its activities.

The technical industries address the needs of the railway, construction, real estate, machinery, electrical and metal industries (MEM). Together they form the largest industrial employer and one of the largest export sectors in Switzerland. The digital networking of products and end-to-end data management across the entire value chain enables new business models and presents the technical industries with both challenges and new opportunities.

In order to share data, build knowledge or automate processes in the supply chains of the technical industries, internal company data silos in which information is collected and managed must be shared with partners. This prevents product master data from existing in different versions and being stored in different databases.

Products in these industries not only have countless parts, but also have lifetimes of up to 60 years, during which maintenance is often required. In the absence of unique part identification, traceability is hampered and supply chain efficiency is hindered. Without standardised identification, the exchange of product data is just as challenging as the tracking of maintenance history.

Here, GS1 standards create a common foundation by enabling products, locations and assets to be uniquely identified, correctly recorded and information about them automatically exchanged. Since the non-overlapping GS1 identification keys are unique worldwide, they can be used inside and outside companies. Thus, the serialised Global Trade Item Number (SGTIN) can be used in parts authentication, warehouse and inventory management as well as for maintenance and repair activities.

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