Hot Topics at GS1 Connect? Labeling, Blockchain and More

Last week’s GS1 Connect event held in blazing hot Phoenix brought together hundreds of key influencers and decision makers from Foodservice, Healthcare, Retail Grocery and Apparel to discuss latest trends and challenges in the supply chain. While the temperatures outside hovered around 105ºF, the cool, comfortable accommodations inside lent for some lively and constructive dialogue as companies continue to pursue ways to optimize efficiency—and drive profitability.

As always, Loftware was there as a proud GS1 Solution Partner and we came away with a few key takeaways…

  • Labeling Still Lagging  – It seemed like many of the attendees we spoke with still have multiple, siloed labeling products deployed across their manufacturing lines and are not integrated with their back-end systems. As companies continue to rely on enterprise-class systems for planning, manufacturing, procurement and other critical areas, labeling has to be part of the process to ensure that the most accurate, real-time data appears on the label—or that “passport” for products traversing the supply chain. There's also added value when you can extend your labeling to suppliers and trade partners to improve visibility and control. After our tech track on that same topic, the lines got longer at our booth.

  • Blockchain Buzz and Reality – There was a lot of talk throughout the conference about this data-sharing technology. One session in particular featured a panel of speakers from leading companies like Walmart who spoke of their evaluation and upcoming implementation of blockchain. As one presenter put it, blockchain will actually help to level the playing field for companies as there will be full transparency of every transaction—from warehousing and delivery to payment. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but if visibility is key to supply chain efficiency, shouldn’t labeling be equally pervasive and transparent?

  • Data, Data Everywhere – As President and CEO of GS1 US Bob Carpenter pointed out in his welcoming remarks, technologies like IoT, AI and machine learning are generating enormous, almost unmanageable amounts of data. Data that must be properly harnessed and identified to keep pace with the speed of business. That’s why standards and barcodes are so critical to digital transformation, and why so many of the world’s leading companies were at GS1 Connect to network, collaborate and learn. Certainly Loftware believes strongly in respecting your data and providing centralized control of the labeling that uses that data both upstream and downstream your global supply chain.

Overall, it was a very informative, engaging and insightful event at the beautiful JW Marriott in Phoenix. Well done by the entire GS1 US team, and we look forward to next year's event in much cooler Denver, Colorado.

For more information on supplier labeling and how it can save you millions of dollars in operating cost, the same topic we covered at the GS1 Connect tech track, we encourage you to download the report “Move Inventory Faster. It Starts with the Label”.

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Craig Hodgson

Posted By Craig Hodgson

Craig Hodgson is the Industry Manager at Loftware, where he manages all industry-specific engagements, relationships, and partnerships. His knowledge of the Enterprise Labeling Industry is vast and spans a wide range of industries including Medical Device, Food & Beverage, Chemical and Automotive.

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