Embracing GS1 Standards for Efficiency and Compliance
by Maureen Perroni, on May 29, 2017
Getting better visibility into all levels of the supply chain is a high priority for organizations of all kinds, even when goods move between partners that have very different operational systems. To this end, it may be worth investigating standardized barcode labels backed by international bodies such as GS1. By using barcode labels that conform to GS1 standards, companies can track items from manufacture to delivery without relabeling them.
Conforming to a Standard
There are many different barcode types administered by GS1, from the familiar UPCs seen on products at the supermarket to extended barcodes only used in logistics. DataMatrix and QR codes represent the next step in barcode scanning, as they go beyond vertical bars to incorporate more data.
GS1 laid out the benefits of information exchange in a standardized system: Trading partners at each link of the supply chain can communicate effectively and integrate their systems quickly. The risk of making mistakes in information exchange decreases when trading partners all adhere to the same barcode labeling system.
Complying with Regulations
When there are traceability requirements to comply with, such as in pharmaceutical manufacturing, standards can help companies get in line with the rules. Packaging Digest recently reported the results of a GS1 test by Johnson & Johnson and AmerisourceBergen, trying to prepare for the FDA's 2023 end-to-end pharma traceability deadline. These large manufacturers noted that their test reflected current capabilities by using both UPCs and DataMatrix identifiers. By 2023 DataMatrix will be readable throughout the supply chain.
Standardize and Thrive
Whether a supply chain uses GS1 standards is a decision for companies receiving goods or materials. To comply with industry regulations or simply improve the supply chain, it's easy to see why firms would choose to comply with established standards.
For more on labeling in today's complex supply chain check out the recent report Loftware developed with VDC Reserach "The Changing Landscape of Barcode Labeling."