Technologies help improve supply chain integration

24 October 2013

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25 October 2013 | Mario Donati

Firms that use standards-based technologies, such as barcodes and radio frequency identification (RFID), have better integrated supply chains, according to two reports based on a 10-year study.

The reports have been produced by the Department of Management and Marketing in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne and GS1 Australia.

The papers, Project Noah - To Integrate or Not to Integrate? A Ten Year Study of Australian Businesses and Project Noah - When it Comes to the Crunch, examine how companies use standards-based technologies to improve supply chain integration. They cover the FMCG, healthcare, primary industry and automotive manufacturing sectors.

The research found that the adoption of a number of GS1 standards-based technologies can lead to more integrated and efficient supply chains.

Peter Chambers, GS1 Australia’s general manager of operational initiatives, said: “Technologies such as barcodes, eMessaging, radio frequency identification and data synchronisation can significantly improve transactions between supply chain industry partners.”

However, the study also found that implementation of technology standards often lacked cohesion and forward thinking, with managers focusing on local, short-term business benefits for their own organisation, rather than on strategic supply chain integration.

A more integrated supply chain is not necessarily in the best interest of all businesses, the study concludes. The success of implementing the standards depends on correctly identifying the best technology standards for strategic goals.

GS1 is a not-for-profit international organisation that administers supply chain standards and introduced the barcode system 40 years ago. The first product to get a barcode was a pack of Wrigley’s gum.

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