31 October 2002 | Robin Parker
More than 40 international consumer goods manufacturers and retailers are backing an initiative to use common bar codes.
The Case for Global Standards has been launched by the Global Commerce Initiative (GCI), an advisory group for the development of voluntary data standards, whose members include Tesco, Danone and Unilever.
The GCI says that if common standards were used for basic data such as product item codes, it could save up to 3 per cent in supply chain costs.
In a report based on a six-month consultation with its members, the GCI calculates that this could improve companies' performance by 10-15 per cent.
Charles Bayless, global head of consumer products at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, which is backing the initiative, said consumer products can have up to 40 different codes internationally, which leads to confusion.
"Every time a company switches between different standards - for example, to source the same product from another supplier - it introduces more risk of errors," he said.
• The business case for global data standards is available online at www.cgey.com/gcicase