GS1 Ireland, the local member organisation of GS1, the global supply chain standards body, has called on the retail and food sector to continue its commitments to increase efficiency and reduce risks in the supply chain by availing of the significant benefits now possible with the introduction of its next generation barcode, called the DataBar.
This latest version of the more familiar but older GS1 Barcode, first introduced over 30 years ago, is smaller than its predecessor, and yet can contain more useful information, such as ‘best-before’ dates, place of origin, coupon processing etc. As a result, the new DataBar can be placed on very small items, and is particularly suited for identifying for example, fresh produce and loose individual pieces of fruit and vegetables, all scannable at the point of sale.
In addition to the business benefits, such as improved stock rotation and reduced shrinkage, the GS1 DataBar will significantly enhance traceabililty in a complex supply chain like the food industry in particular. Harnessing next-generation barcode standards ensures a more rigorous supply chain for the tracking and tracing of goods, and enables retailers to easily and quickly block the sale of recalled items.
This ability to more effectively track and trace the product at every step of the supply chain is particularly timely, given the latest series of food contamination scares we are currently witnessing. These particular crises highlight even more, the need for a significant tightening up of the identification, tracking and tracing of our food products right up to the point of sale. The common issue underpinning all recalls is the ability to accurately identify the affected products and securely withdraw them from sale.
Speaking on GS1’s solution for more effective fresh produce management and recall systems, Jim Bracken, chief executive, GS1 Ireland, said: “If the GS1 DataBar was deployed using standardised scanning solutions at all stages of the supply chain, downstream operators would have critical traceability information available in their own IT systems and be quickly able to identify contaminated batches. Then if a product slipped through to the shelf, the batch information encoded in the DataBar would alert the retailer at the point of sale.”
Specifically in relation to the new GS1 DataBar, he said: “By carrying more information than the previous GS1 barcodes, and ensuring that all parties involved are using the same global standards, there is a real opportunity to revolutionise supply chain visibility.”
In 2010, GS1 in collaboration with Globeweigh Group and Irish meat processing firm, Feile Foods, successfully completed the implementation of a GS1 DataBar on their meat products at the Point of Sale (POS).