GS1 UK, the global supply chain standards organisation, has strongly recommended suppliers and retailers to start planning for the 2010 adoption date to ensure compatibility and take advantage of the new smaller, GS1 DataBar bar code. The date marks when the bar codes – previously known as ‘Reduced Space Symbology’ – will start to appear at retail checkouts to save time and improve efficiency. Suppliers and retailers will also benefit from increased packaging space for branding and additional information. Both Nestlé and Tesco are backing the adoption in the UK.
‘We are already having to find more room for additional details on packaging, such as nutritional labelling, allergens, detailed product information, and, in the future, the likelihood of having to record carbon labelling, says Chris Tyas, supply chain director at Nestlé and vice chairman of GS1 UK. ’Increasing the available space on products by using smaller symbols such as the GS1 DataBar will help us achieve this.’
The GS1 DataBar will enable the identification of small and difficult to code products, such as cosmetics and loose fresh fruits and vegetables. This increase in the number of items that can be scanned will help improve check-out speeds and provide more accurate sales data on a greater range of products. GS1 DataBar is also being developed with the option of carrying serial numbers, batch numbers, and expiry dates, all of which will support product authentication and traceability initiatives.
Most modern bar code scanning equipment is able to read the GS1 DataBar, but retailers will need to check their systems for compatibility. Older scanner models, however, may need to be replaced to read the new bar codes. To help pave the way and ensure their systems are ready for the new bar code, retailers can receive guidance, implementation and testing support and training from GS1 UK.