Prepare for new bar code, says standards organisation

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Manufacturers and retailers should start planning for the 2010
deadline for adopting a new smaller, international bar code that
can help improve logistics, says the organisation that created the

Both Nestlé and Tesco are backing the adoption of the GS1 DataBar in the UK.

The goal is to improve the ability of companies to authenticate products and meet traceability requirements.

The 2010 deadline marks when the bar codes - previously known as 'reduced space symbology' - will start to appear on products and at retail checkouts, said GS1 UK, the independent organisation responsible for the new bar code.

Chris Tyas, supply chain director at Nestlé and vice chairman of GS1 UK said companies are already having to find more room on their products for additional details on packaging, nutritional labelling, allergens, and detailed product information.

In the future, companies may also have to record the carbon footprint associated with manufacturing their products, he said.

"Increasing the available space on products by using smaller symbols such as the GS1 DataBar will help us achieve this," he stated.

The use of DataBar will allow processors to identify small and difficult to code products, such as loose fresh fruits and vegetables and cosmetics, claims GS1 UK.

"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 UK stated.

GS1 UK is also developing an option for the DataBar to carry serial numbers, batch numbers, and expiry dates, all of which will support product authentication and traceability requirements.

Most modern bar code scanning equipment is able to read the GS1 DataBar, but retailers will also need to check their systems for compatibility. Older scanner models, however, may need to be replaced to read the new bar codes.

GS1 UK is also responsible for implementing a global RFID and Electronic Product Code standard in a bid to make supply chains more efficient.

GS1 UK is part of the global GS1 organisation, dedicated to the development and implementation of global data standards for the supply chain.

GS1 standards are the most widely used in the world, the organisation claims.

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