Barcodes play a key role in supply chains, enabling retailers, manufacturers, and transport suppliers to capture information in an automated manner related to movement and storage of goods. It helps in saving time & effort which would be spent otherwise in manually capturing such information by each trading partner in the supply chain.
Products / consignments can be uniquely & unambiguously identified using GS1 global identification standards which get encoded within barcodes on product packaging or cartons. Through this, track and trace of products / consignments across the supply chain can be undertaken from their point of manufacture / origin to their point of sale/consumption.
Use of global standards in barcoding helps in product authentication, effecting speedy & accurate product recalls and access to product label information from trusted sources (brand owners).
Through an application titled, “Smart consumer Mobile App” developed by GS1 India, consumers can scan barcodes on products to verify product label information & access more detailed information on products prior to making purchase decisions. Product claims related to statutory compliances, for example – on validity of certificates of food licenses, as issued by FSSAI (Food Safety & Standards Authority of India), etc. can be authenticated through the use of this app. Information accessed through this app is trusted & reliable since it is provided directly by brand owners and uploaded into GS1 India’s national product data repository called “DataKart”.
Barcode numbers to facilitate unique & universal identification of products is done by GS1, a global standards organization which operates across 150 countries.
There have been instances reported on assignment of GS1 barcode numbers (which are used in barcodes printed on product packaging) illegally & in an unauthorized manner by unscrupulous barcode number sellers. In such cases, consumers using the smart consumer mobile app will not find authentic product information & would thus know that the barcodes printed are suspect. the long-term consequences of purchasing barcodes from unauthorized sources can adversely impact a business.
Here are some of the impacts:
- If you’re buying barcode numbers from an unauthorized source, you need to locate and pay for packaging and other suppliers to encode barcode numbers into barcode images, which eventually raises your overall cost
- A large portion of the enormous retail directs in India, both offline and online, allows only items with universally unique GTIN(Global Trade Identification Number) or barcode numbers to be identified in their systems and abstain from filtering issues at the checkout counters. In such cases, barcodes acquired from unauthorized sources become unusable, thus forcing the company to scrap and replace their entire product packaging together with the new barcodes
- Other major effects include inability to list products on e-tailing websites, failed customer authentication through consumer apps, etc.
Retailers & ecommerce shopping portals use only authorized GS1 barcode numbers in their product item masters / e-product catalogues and they authenticate the barcode numbers through GS1 organizations across the world.
GS1 India barcode numbers which start with prefix ‘890’ code, are trademark protected & any illegal assignment or use of the same, could invite legal action.
About the author:
Mr. Ravi Mathur is the CEO of GS1 India and has been driving the adoption of global standards and best practices in India which help in enhancing operational efficiencies of organisations across Industry sectors and facilitate compliance with regulatory requirements worldwide.