Today's Challenges

What Business Cares About

A supply chain revolution is underway. Brands, retailers, and their trading partners are collaborating to rethink how products move, are packaged, and are presented to shoppers.

Despite intense competition, collaboration around standards has never been more important. Standardization enables interoperability and automation—prerequisites to delivering the speed, accuracy, and visibility necessary to capture the hearts and minds of tech-savvy consumers.

Moving at the speed of consumers goes far beyond consumer-facing touchpoints. It requires business focus in four major areas: product information, unified commerce, safety and regulations, and innovation and technology.

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Product Information

The Competition Starts Here

To win sales and earn loyalty, companies must deliver more than great products. They must also give consumers reliable, value-added content and great experiences. Demand for accurate, complete, and consistent information is driving unprecedented industry collaboration on product identification, images and attribute descriptors, transparency, and data quality. As a result, information can be understood and matched across the entire supply chain—all the way to consumer channels.

Download our Data Quality Infographic PDF (693 KB) >

Unique Product Identification—The Linchpin of Product Data for E-Commerce

Unique product identification makes it possible for physical products to link to their descriptive digital data. A single, global standard for product identification—the Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN®)—enables interoperability, automation, and validation of data. All of that is essential for consistently and seamlessly sharing accurate and authentic product information between trading partners and across consumer channels.

GS1 US® continues to work with industry to strengthen core unique identification standards to better support a frictionless consumer experience. A growing number of online marketplaces now require GTINs and hide listings without them. This trend reflects the GTIN’s important role in enabling better search and discovery experiences for consumers.

Download Satisfying Consumer Demand for Frictionless Commerce Delivering Trusted Accurate Product Information with GS1 Standards PDF (110 KB) >

Unique Product Identification
Images and Attributes

Images and Attributes—The Face of Product Data

Nearly 90 percent of consumers say they would be unlikely to consider a retailer again if they provided incorrect information for a purchased product, according to a Shotfarm study (source: http://www.shotfarm.com/product-information-report/). Further, inaccurate or conflicting key product features—known as product attributes—make it difficult for consumers to make effective choices. Standardizing product images and data attributes empowers industry stakeholders to achieve three key goals: better serving consumers, improving time to market, and eliminating duplicate work by trading partners.

Addressing a lack of minimum image requirements among retail grocery trading partners, the GS1 US Retail Grocery Initiative developed the Product Images Application Guideline for the Retail Grocery Industry in 2016. In addition, the GS1 US Guidance for Sharing Product Attributes via GDSN® in Retail Grocery was released in January 2017.

Explore our Resource Library: Images and Attributes >

View Best Practice Guideline for Exchanging Product Images and Attributes, Release 3.1 >

View On-Demand Webinar: Streamline Your Data Management for the Digital Age >

In addition, the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative created letter templates to help retailer and supplier team members encourage intra-organizational adoption of standards-based images and attributes.

Product Information Transparency—Driving Consumer Loyalty

Consumers reward brands that disclose detailed, in-depth, and accurate information about their products: what they contain, how they were made, where they come from, how to use them. Broader consumer questions necessitate deeper levels of transparency from suppliers and retailers. Combine consumer demands with government legislation for labeling and product traceability and the result is unprecedented pressure for business to collect, validate, and distribute more information.

Watch our video about how GS1 Standards are helping drive success for Foodservice members >

Product Information Transparency
Data Quality

Data Quality—The New Risks and Rewards

Product “defects” aren’t always physical. They can also take the form of inaccurate or incomplete information. What happens when what arrives on a consumer’s doorstep isn’t what was expected? What about the potential health and brand impacts of inaccurate allergen content?

Data inaccuracies affecting trading partners used to be considered a cost of doing business. Now, when package measurements are incorrect, it doesn’t just affect a planogram or shipping and warehousing efficiencies—it can degrade the quality of the information being passed along to the consumer. Similarly, errors that can lead to inefficiency in the physical flow of goods through the system with potentially higher shipping and warehouse costs can also impair fulfillment to the consumer.

To address data quality challenges, supply chain partners have provided input to develop the GS1 US National Data Quality Program. The program helps companies implement a standards-based framework consisting of data governance, education and training protocols, and attribute audits.

View our GS1 US National Data Quality Program webpage >

Unified Commerce

Time's Up for Getting It Right

Expectations for unified commerce connectivity and consistency are transforming every industry. Yet achieving true digital and physical convergence remains elusive. Gaps persist between back-end systems and public-facing applications and websites—and there is insufficient clarity for how to bridge those gaps. According to research from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and RedPoint Global (source: https://cmocouncil.org/empowering-the-data-driven-customer-strategy), only 7 percent of marketers can deliver real-time, data-driven engagements across both physical and digital.

Download the GS1 US E-Commerce Fulfillment Guideline R1.0 PDF (957 KB) > 

View our case study, Invest in High-Quality Data to Support our Growth Strategy: Target, Keurig, and Pilot Pen Share Their Data Quality Journeys >

EPC-enabled RFID—Optimizing Inventory Visibility and Fulfillment

As in-store fulfillment grows in popularity, and cross-channel shoppers demonstrate their higher value, inventory visibility becomes one of the most important links in the supply chain. Companies are turning to a familiar technology—Electronic Product Code (EPC®)-enabled item-level Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)—to provide real-time inventory visibility and order accuracy.

With EPC-enabled RFID, retailers can track every piece of merchandise in every retail stock location—raising SKU-level inventory accuracy from an average of 63 percent to greater than 95 percent, according to research from the RFID Lab at Auburn University. (Source: Auburn University, RFID Lab Studies, https://rfid.auburn.edu/) Item-level tagging helps manufacturers improve shipping and picking accuracy by 80 percent and receiving time by 90 percent, according to the RFID Lab. Upstream tagging also enables product authentication and traceability—essential tools for fighting counterfeit goods.

GS1 US helped Herman Kay, which was asked by Macy’s to tag all outerwear with RFID hangtags, to implement the innovative technology to benefit its own operations.

View our webpage for Herman Kay Co. case study > and watch our video >

EPC-enabled RFID
Better Search

Better Search—Ensuring Discoverability

Online search makes it easier for consumers to find products in store and online. It also dramatically increases competition.

GS1 Standards can help. Using a GTIN in an online product listing works to increase the efficacy of a product’s search results, impressions, clicks, and conversions. In fact, one online platform saw 40 percent more impressions and up to a 20 percent lift in conversion rates on items listed with GTINs. (Source: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6352134?hl=en) What’s more, some online marketplaces are now requiring unique product identification—and hiding listings that lack a GTIN.

Explore our resources for store brands in a digital world >

Business Optimization—Learning from the Data

Predictive analytics are the gateway to the 45 percent of consumers who are more likely to shop with brands and retailers offering personalized recommendations. (Source:  http://www.invespcro.com/blog/online-shopping-personalization/) In this data-driven era, businesses need systems to help make connections, extract learnings, and act on insights to create new monetization opportunities. Automated data sharing helps connect different pieces of the puzzle—making it possible to optimize data across operations and generate business intelligence to create more relevant consumer engagement.

What’s causing the gap between strategy and execution? Marketers told researchers it’s because of siloed systems and data. In fact, only six percent believe they get a complete view of their customer from all data sources. (Source: CMO Council & RedPoint Global)

Smarter Analytics

Safety & Regulatory

Protecting Consumers and Brands

E-commerce and social media have raised the stakes when it comes to product safety. Chalk it up to more interconnected supply chains and the breakneck speed of news and social media. With product traceability as the main enabler, safety remains a top priority. After all, brands—and businesses’ compliance with a host of consumer protection laws—depend on it.

Traceability—Mapping a Product’s Journey

From healthcare to manufacturing and retail, uniquely identifying and tracing a product hinges on visibility throughout the supply chain—and that requires consistent and interoperable data-sharing environments. In other words, a company’s internal processes to track and trace a product must be part of a larger system of external data exchange between trading partners.

Traceability
Patient Safety

Patient Safety—Identification and Interoperability

The healthcare industry is working to improve patient safety and fight skyrocketing costs. All the while, organizations are addressing major legislation aimed at illuminating chain of custody of medical device and pharmaceutical supply chains, from point of manufacturer through the supply chain through to the patient.

The U.S. FDA UDI Rule establishes a unique device identification system for medical devices. Under the rule, medical devices will be marked with a Unique Device Identifier (UDI) that will appear on the label and package of a device. UDIs will be presented on device labels in both a human-readable format and a machine-readable format (e.g., a barcode). Re-usable devices that need to be “reprocessed” before reuse will also be directly marked with a UDI. In addition, device labelers will submit device information to a U.S. FDA database called the Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID).*

*For information about the rule, see the U.S. FDA Unique Device Identification System 

Disclaimer: GS1 US is the local GS1 Member Organization that supports implementation of the GS1 System in the United States. GS1 US employees are not representatives or agents of the U.S. FDA, and the content herein has not been reviewed, approved, or authorized by the U.S. FDA.

GS1 is a U.S. FDA-Accredited Issuing Agency for UDI, and GS1 Standards are authorized for use in implementing the requirements of the U.S. FDA UDI Rule.

View the GS1 Standards Resources for U.S. FDA UDI Implementation Support webpage >

The Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA)** aims to facilitate the exchange of information at the individual package level about where a drug has been in the supply chain. It can be viewed as a three-phase implementation over 10 years. Phase 1 involves supply chain participants sharing lot-level, chain-of-ownership data starting in 2015. Phase 2 involves item-level identification and marking starting in 2017. And Phase 3 involves the electronic exchange of chain-of-ownership data to support serialized item traceability back to the product origin starting in 2023.

** For information about the act, see the 2013 Drug Supply Chain Security Act  

View the Assessing Current Implication of DSCSA Serialization Requirements White Paper web page>

Working collaboratively as members of the GS1 Healthcare US® Initiative, leading healthcare organizations are driving the use of open, global standards to deliver the highest levels of patient care and safety while lowering costs, increasing efficiencies, and adapting to new legislation, reform, and regulations.

View our case study web pages: Mercy > and CentraState >

Food Safety—Transparency and Traceability

Three things are driving food industry transformation: soaring consumer expectations for product information transparency; renewed focus on food safety vigilance; and new legislation—including labelling genetically modified organism (GMO) foods, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and changes to the Nutrition Facts Panel. Everyone in the food supply chain faces pressure to optimize traceability programs so they can inform consumers and respond quickly to any food recall or product withdrawal.

A single food recall can lead to severe financial loss and reputational damage for food producers. Fifty-two percent (52%) of all food recalls cost affected U.S. companies more than $10 million each. (Source: Swiss Re report “Food Safety in a Globalised World”)

The GS1 US Retail Grocery Initiative and the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative are producing guidelines, developing best practices, and facilitating discussions between industry stakeholders on how GS1 Standards can help them face these challenges.

View our Fresh Foods Management Solution webpage >

Food Safety
Anti-Counterfeit

Anti-Counterfeit—Reducing Imitation Products

Online shopping has made it easier for counterfeiters to expand their operations. While an imitation handbag causes disappointment, a counterfeit beauty or pharmaceutical product elevates risk to an alarming level.

When supply chain partners commit to product identification using a GS1 GTIN as the first step toward traceability, the incidence of counterfeit products drops significantly. Encoding product listings with GTINs helps retailers determine the authenticity of a product, as the first few digits of the GTIN signify the identity of the manufacturer. Online marketplaces have begun requiring valid GTINs for sellers to list their products, and they will hide product listing if this is not in place.

Download Counterfeit Goods Create Real Problems: How GS1 Standards Help Industry Reduce Imitation Merchandise Online white paper PDF (193 KB) > 

Innovation & Technology

Preparing for Disruption

There are major forces converging and reshaping our world: the cloud, hyper-connectivity, mobile, location, voice and image recognition, augmented and virtual reality, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence. These forces are reshaping consumers and revealing opportunities to transform how businesses meet consumers’ needs. To ignore these forces is to risk an up-ended business model, and GS1 US is no exception. Innovation into new frontiers requires a strong foundation: unique product identification.

The Consumer Internet of Things—Connecting to the Everyday

We are moving into the age of the Consumer Internet of Things (C-IoT). Industry analysts predict RFID will be a necessary part of the foundation for IoT and a key enabler of this new highly-connected environment.

Channel integration already being achieved through item-level RFID will be considered an IoT prerequisite. The major difference is that the consumer experience will be even more elevated and prioritized in an IoT world, with communication between “things” and supply chain partners just as critical to retailer and brand success.

“As the Internet of Things grows, we need an agreement on system architecture and open standards. If leaders don't think this through, and don't create a framework for it to succeed, there’s a real chance that the full potential of the Internet of Things could be compromised.” Sanjay Sarma, Chairman, GS1 Innovation Network, Professor, VP for Open Learning, MIT

Additional Resources:

Read full article, The Great IOT Data Ownership Debate – Tech Target, April 24, 2018

Read full article, What is the Consumer Internet of Things? – CSCMP Supply Chain Quarterly, March 27, 2018

Read full article, IoT patent applications skyrocketed in 2016, signaling long-term growth – Supply Chain Dive, December 14, 2017

The Consumer Internet of Things
Strategic Partnerships

Strategic Partnerships—Expanding the Ecosystem

GS1 US® works with strategic partners as part of our commitment to collaborate and provide our members with innovative solutions to address their most pressing business challenges.

For example, five organizations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), the International Life Sciences Institute North America (ILSI North America), GS1 US, 1WorldSync, and Label Insights formed a collaborative public-private partnership. The resulting “USDA Branded Food Products Database” serves as a main source of food composition data for governments, the public health research community, and the food industry, providing key inputs for agricultural and food policy decisions. 

View the press release >

In addition, the Category Management Association (CMA) accredited several modules of the GS1 Foundations Online Certificate Courses. The association has recognized that GS1 Standards support the professional knowledge base needed for pursuing category management accreditation.

View the press release >

Blockchain

GS1 US continues to engage with industry around blockchain—a distributed ledger technology with the potential to produce a tidal wave of business process changes in the next five to ten years. Blockchain makes it possible to replicate, share, and synchronize data in a way that’s resilient to a technological or organizational failure. In a supply chain, it offers significant opportunity to enhance security and operational efficiencies—potentially eliminating many manual business processes. It also has great potential as a tool for ensuring traceability. We continue to collaborate with industry to align on standardized identifiers and data sharing structures to ensure compatibility, speed, and efficiency. 

Additional Resources:

Read full article, Why the Healthcare Industry Has Little Patience for Blockchain –  Health Management Tech, August 13, 2018

Read full article, Blockchain in the Food Industry:  Separating Myth from Reality – Food Online, August 6, 2018

Read full article, Healthcare Blockchain Acceptance – CSCMP Supply Chain Quarterly/Hot Topic, August 6, 2018

Read full article, New CSCMP Report Explores Blockchain and Data Sharing – Supply Chain Quarterly, June 21, 2018

Read full article, What Does Blockchain Have to Do with Omnichannel Retailing – Apparel Magazine, May 15 2018

Read full article, What the Heck is Blockchain and What Do You Do with It? (VIDEO) – Southeast Produce Weekly/RFD-TV, March 30, 2018

Read full article, Amplifying the Power of Blockchain—What You Need to Know – The Shelby Report, March 23, 2018

Blockchain

To win sales and earn loyalty, companies must deliver more than great products. They must also give consumers reliable, value-added content and great experiences. Demand for accurate, complete, and consistent information is driving unprecedented industry collaboration on product identification, images and attribute descriptors, transparency, and data quality. As a result, information can be understood and matched across the entire supply chain—all the way to consumer channels.

Download our Data Quality Infographic PDF (693 KB) >

Unique Product Identification—The Linchpin of Product Data for E-Commerce

Unique product identification makes it possible for physical products to link to their descriptive digital data. A single, global standard for product identification—the Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN®)—enables interoperability, automation, and validation of data. All of that is essential for consistently and seamlessly sharing accurate and authentic product information between trading partners and across consumer channels.

GS1 US® continues to work with industry to strengthen core unique identification standards to better support a frictionless consumer experience. A growing number of online marketplaces now require GTINs and hide listings without them. This trend reflects the GTIN’s important role in enabling better search and discovery experiences for consumers.

Download Satisfying Consumer Demand for Frictionless Commerce Delivering Trusted Accurate Product Information with GS1 Standards PDF (110 KB) >

Unique Product Identification
Images and Attributes

Images and Attributes—The Face of Product Data

Nearly 90 percent of consumers say they would be unlikely to consider a retailer again if they provided incorrect information for a purchased product, according to a Shotfarm study (source: http://www.shotfarm.com/product-information-report/). Further, inaccurate or conflicting key product features—known as product attributes—make it difficult for consumers to make effective choices. Standardizing product images and data attributes empowers industry stakeholders to achieve three key goals: better serving consumers, improving time to market, and eliminating duplicate work by trading partners.

Addressing a lack of minimum image requirements among retail grocery trading partners, the GS1 US Retail Grocery Initiative developed the Product Images Application Guideline for the Retail Grocery Industry in 2016. In addition, the GS1 US Guidance for Sharing Product Attributes via GDSN® in Retail Grocery was released in January 2017.

Explore our Resource Library: Images and Attributes >

View Best Practice Guideline for Exchanging Product Images and Attributes, Release 3.1 >

View On-Demand Webinar: Streamline Your Data Management for the Digital Age >

In addition, the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative created letter templates to help retailer and supplier team members encourage intra-organizational adoption of standards-based images and attributes.

Product Information Transparency—Driving Consumer Loyalty

Consumers reward brands that disclose detailed, in-depth, and accurate information about their products: what they contain, how they were made, where they come from, how to use them. Broader consumer questions necessitate deeper levels of transparency from suppliers and retailers. Combine consumer demands with government legislation for labeling and product traceability and the result is unprecedented pressure for business to collect, validate, and distribute more information.

Watch our video about how GS1 Standards are helping drive success for Foodservice members >

Product Information Transparency
Data Quality

Data Quality—The New Risks and Rewards

Product “defects” aren’t always physical. They can also take the form of inaccurate or incomplete information. What happens when what arrives on a consumer’s doorstep isn’t what was expected? What about the potential health and brand impacts of inaccurate allergen content?

Data inaccuracies affecting trading partners used to be considered a cost of doing business. Now, when package measurements are incorrect, it doesn’t just affect a planogram or shipping and warehousing efficiencies—it can degrade the quality of the information being passed along to the consumer. Similarly, errors that can lead to inefficiency in the physical flow of goods through the system with potentially higher shipping and warehouse costs can also impair fulfillment to the consumer.

To address data quality challenges, supply chain partners have provided input to develop the GS1 US National Data Quality Program. The program helps companies implement a standards-based framework consisting of data governance, education and training protocols, and attribute audits.

View our GS1 US National Data Quality Program webpage >

Download Driving Product Data Quality by the Numbers white paper PDF (912 KB) >

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