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GS1 Updates its Standards for Real Time Product Visibility

09/06/14 - GS1, the neutral, not-for-profit standards organisation today announced the update and ratification of its open Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) and Core Business Vocabulary (CBV) standards. Together, they lay the foundation for business partners to share real-time information about the movement, history and status of goods in the physical world, throughout the global supply chain.

There are a number of enhancements to the EPCIS 1.1 standard that are particularly useful in solving the growing traceability needs of industry. Leveraging standards to track and trace products can ultimately improve consumer safety, and increase overall supply chain efficiency. 

“This is a fundamental step towards a global traceability network,” says Hans-Juergen Matern, Head of Sustainability & Regulatory Affairs at METRO AG.

EPCIS 1.1 supports lot/batch-based product identification where serialisation at the item-level is not always feasible, such as with fresh foods. “This opens an important door for the food industry to fine-tune capabilities through lot level identification to enable supply chain visibility information with precision and confidence,” says Andrew Kennedy, co-chair of the GS1 Standards working group which developed the update. He is also president of FoodLogiQ, offering web-based and on-demand solutions for traceability and food safety.

Knowing all product attributes and the history of all trading partners involved in the chain of custody or ownership of products is very attractive to the food and healthcare sectors – as is the ability to capture real-time lot-related data like expiration dates. “The improved ability to capture information through ‘transformation events’ about what ingredients are used to produce a product is a great asset to enhance consumer confidence in safe foods and products,” says Paul Lothian, Business Solutions Architect at Tyson Foods, Inc.

The apparel sector will also benefit from the updated standard, increasing inventory accuracy and, in turn, on-shelf product availability.

“The time is right for supply chain interoperability like this,” says Steve Bratt, Chief Technical Officer at GS1 Global. “We are seeing a growing consumer demand for a safe and secure supply chain. The diverse retail industry working group that developed these updates also took into account the latest industry regulatory requirements and the complex business needs of a global trading partner network.”

“EPCIS 1.1 enables the transformation of internal and external processes into an event-based, interoperable solution,” adds Mr. Matern.

“Using GS1 Standards like EPCIS v1.1 to support serialisation and track & trace will be key in securing the healthcare supply chain while complying with emerging regulations worldwide, says Lloyd Mager, Global Track & Trace Lead of AbbVie. “This will be foundational in enabling the healthcare community to comply with the U.S. FDA Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) law, minimising opportunities for contamination, adulteration, diversion, or counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products.”

For further information:  
Lisa Sandberg 
Global Marketing Director, GS1 
+1 609 557 4571 

About GS1 UK 
For more than 35 years GS1 UK has been working with its members to enable the efficient movement of goods and sharing of information. It drives supply chain efficiency alongside 111 other not-for-profit GS1 member organisations in 150 countries worldwide.
Having introduced the first truly global bar code numbering system in 1973, at least five billion GS1-compliant bar codes are now scanned everyday – making it the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world. GS1 identification numbers are now also commonly used in RFID tags, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messages and for real-time global data exchange.
Providing independent support, GS1’s team of technical and business consultants also assist members with on-site implementation of appropriate supply chain information solutions.
Its 28,000+ UK members range from SMEs to major UK companies and include grocery retailers and food service companies, food manufacturers, healthcare and pharmaceuticals companies, and NHS Trusts. Its supervisory board includes senior directors from Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, as well as Unilever, P&G, Diageo and the NHS.
GS1 UK actively supports The Food Chain – a UK charity set up to ensure that people living with HIV can access the nutrition they need to lead healthy, independent lives. For more information, visit