GS1, a leading, not-for-profit organisation has boosted awareness in Asia for the importance of global standards thanks to this year’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the GS1 Bar Code - a single global standard for product identification.

The historical decision to adopt a global language for business is explained in a compelling documentary that sets out the decision made by a group of visionary leaders back in 1973, which led to today’s unprecedented visibility in the entire supply chain across multiple sectors.

On June 26, 1974, at 8:01am, the first GS1 bar code was scanned for the very first time in Troy, Ohio. Forty years later, over 5 billion products are being scanned every day, in 150 countries, as part of a an increasingly complex global market place.

"GS1 has played a major role in shaping the landscape of the global market during the last 40 years because the organisation's visionary leaders saw the huge potential of collaboration in the area of standards that the bar code made possible for the entire supply chain," said Miguel Lopera, GS1 President & CEO.

One of the key milestones in the GS1 System of Standards is the development of the GS1 Bar Code – the “first of the revolutionary leaps GS1 has made”. Today, the GS1 System of Standards also includes the GS1Global Data Synchronisation Network, which provides a platform for a secure and continuous synchronisation of accurate data. This enables businesses and trading partners to always have the same and correct information in their systems, and any changes made to one company’s database are automatically sent to all trading partners. This process of synchronising data removes any duplicate systems and processes, and drives unnecessary costs of the supply chain.

FIA Executive Director, Bev Postma, highlighted that GS1 has become a trusted partner for businesses – including those in the food industry – helping to facilitate efficiency and security in the exchange of data.

“Over the years, GS1 has been an important provider of global standards for data sharing and a cost-effective platform to support trade as well as consumer information. It has also been a significant partner to the industry, with the development of innovative services such as the GS1 Australia’s GoScan app empowering food consumers to make informed diet choices,” she said.

A winner in Australia’s prestigious 2013 National Consumer iAward in the Services Domain Category, GS1 GoScan is the only app which provides consumers with nutrition, dietary and allergy information about their food with a simple scan of a barcode. The information, provided directly by food manufacturers and brand owners, enables consumers to make more informed choices for their dietary and lifestyle requirements.

During the last four decades, GS1 standards have also provided a single traceability process to meet quality and regulatory requirements. This process enables manufacturers and consumers to find out the origins of the food, how many borders are crossed as items travel from the beginning of the supply chain all the way to the consumer, and if it contains any allergens.

This, coupled with the GS1 Product Recall standard, helps food manufacturers and suppliers ensure more effective, timely and targeted product recall processes and notifications. Businesses are then able to ensure consumer protection and are able to reduce costs and product losses.

Moving forward, GS1 seeks to focus on the integration of social and mobile technologies, particularly with consumers today increasingly requiring product updates and “beyond-the-label” data such as product origin and nutrition information. The GS1 GoScan app is an example of how the association has already moved towards this new area of focus.

Ms Postma concluded: “FIA congratulates GS1 on its 40th anniversary, and looks forward to seeing further key developments from the association,” she said.

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