Industry News | April 5, 2013

GS1 US Celebrates 40 Years of the Barcode

This year markes the 40th anniversary that organizations united to adopt a universal way to conduct business using GS1 Standards. Beginning with a U.P.C. (Universal Product Code) barcode, the GS1 System of Standards has set the foundation for a technological revolution that has changed the way companies, from manufacturers to retailers, conduct business around the world. Now, more than five billion GS1 barcodes are scanned every day.

In the 40 years since their adoption, GS1 Standards have grown into a global system, used by more than two million companies doing business in 150 countries across 25 industries, including apparel and general merchandise, fresh foods, consumer packaged goods, grocery, foodservice, healthcare, and defense.
 
Introduced to speed the supermarket checkout process, the grocery retail industry was the first champion of standards in 1973. Today, supply chains representing nearly every sector in the world rely on GS1 Standards for identifying, capturing, and sharing information about goods, services, locations, and more in real-time. Barcodes and Electronic Product Code (EPC) enabled radio frequency identification (RFID) have evolved to capture a broad range of information to drive supply chain visibility.
 
“Trading partners use our standards to share many complex pieces of data globally in order to transact business, and they need to be able to automate these business processes to reduce cost, human error, or improve safety and interoperability of systems,” says Bob Carpenter, president and chief executive officer of GS1 US. “For example, manufacturers and distributors must communicate product information and company location, at minimum. A common language and globally-accepted standards are essential for trading partners to be able to understand each other, conduct business one way around the world, and collaborate efficiently.”
 
As one of 111 GS1 member organizations around the world, GS1 US brings together stakeholders including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, providers, customs organizations, regulators, and industry groups to agree on standards that make both supply and demand chain operations faster, safer, more effective, less complex, and less costly. GS1 Standards are user-driven, neutral, and voluntary, allowing stakeholders to:
 
·       Provide a common, globally accepted language for the exchange of information
 
·       Identify, capture, and share information automatically and accurately
 
·       Produce hyper efficiency for supply chains
 
·       Reveal information vital to product visibility, traceability, patient safety, and consumer safety, uniquely identifying items around the world
 
·       Manage inventory more efficiently
 
·       Provide data accuracy and speed point of purchase for consumers
 
·       Gather information for accurate and immediate reporting
 
·       Comply with regulatory requirements impacting their business
 
Carpenter adds, “The standards we’ve helped organizations implement over the last 40 years will drive supply chain visibility into the future, and we will continue to evolve with the industries we serve to keep pace with the changing business landscape. GS1 US is working with our members to shape the future – particularly as commerce is heavily influenced by omni-channel, and consumers demand for empowered mobile technology. Data – big and small – will become the key to succeeding in the hyperconnected world and standardizing this data for consumers, trading partners, and regulators, represents a big opportunity. GS1 US will continue to bring industries together to develop and implement standards that address key business challenges now and for many years ahead.”