The standards include specifications on types of barcode, their placement, size and orientation, and the data they should carry ©123RF
The standards include specifications on types of barcode, their placement, size and orientation, and the data they should carry ©123RF

Better barcoding 'could save £100m a year'

8 September 2016

A new set of barcoding guidelines could save the UK grocery industry up to £100m a year, an industry board has said.

The Retail Grocery Advisory Board, a collaboration of retailers and brands facilitated by barcoding non-profit GS1 UK, was established earlier this year to increase supply chain efficiency through cooperation in the grocery industry.

As part of its Perfect Order programme, to improve the "order-to-cash" process of business-to-business purchasing, the board has released a working document outlining a set of standards for labelling products and pallets.

The document looks specifically at the labelling of products being received by retailers from suppliers, known as in-bound products.

“The group felt the quickest wins for both retailers and suppliers would be found here, through significant cost savings that would be realised through initial harmonisation of in-bound standards for both ambient and fresh product,” said Ian Walters, engagement manager at GS1 UK.

The document includes specifications on types of barcode, their placement on items and pallets, their size and orientation and the data they should carry.

It also includes specifications for pallet size and durability, the content of advance shipping notices and delivery documentation and standards for vehicle loading and delivery times.

The board is currently canvasing feedback from both suppliers and retailers.

“Many of the standards are in wide use, but not always applied consistently,” said Walters. The group hopes its consultation will build a more accurate picture of where standards are being met.

The board has identified six areas in total where inefficiencies and avoidable costs exist in the retail supply chain, and where standardisation could be improved. These including process inefficiencies, poor quality supply chain data, product availability and the implementation of standards.

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