Global Standards Benefits

"As the world grows smaller, the market becomes larger." (Anonymous)

Participating in the world marketplace offers many opportunities for the United States (U.S.) meat and poultry supply chain. Exporting U.S. meat and poultry products has a positive impact on all participants in the supply chain; the U.S. economy can benefit from importing products from global trading partners as well. To trade products globally, a data standard and a common language is needed to keep the trading partners on a "level playing field."

For decades, U.S. retailers have utilized the Universal Product Code (U.P.C.) scan bar technology for identifying, scanning and tracking products. Over time the needs of the industry have outgrown the capabilities of the system. Today we are faced with new challenges with food safety, an increase in branding, Country of Origin Labeling and the overall need for more information. Utilizing global data standards in the U.S. domestic supply chain will make a huge improvement over our current standards.

GS1 is a worldwide organization based in Brussels, Belgium. GS1 manages the EAN.UCC System (European Article Numbering and Uniform Code Council) and the Global Standards Management Process (GSMP). The GS1 system is used in over 150 countries and 25 different industries. GS1 US is a member organization and works with the U.S. fresh food industry to adopt and implement standards-based global supply chain solutions.

GS1 global standards provide a common solution that has benefits for all segments in the meat and poultry supply chain and is accepted worldwide.

Click on the links below to find out more about the benefits.

Global Trade Item Number Benefits
Retail Segment Benefits
Supplier and Packer Segment Benefits
Livestock Producer Benefits
Global Product Codes

Global Trade Item Number Benefits

The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN®) is the essential component of global standards. The GTIN® is a single reference number that is globally unique. It can be 8, 12, 13, or 14 characters in length and it contains a GS1 company prefix, an item reference number and a check digit. Example:

Benefits of GTINs:

Retail Segment Benefits

A cornerstone of Global Standards is the new GS1 DataBarTM (formerly known as RSS – Reduced Space Symbology). To realize the benefits of the GS1 DataBarTM will require that retailers make system enhancements. Those enhancements will provide a new method for tracking products internally and externally.

The benefits of the new GS1 DataBarTM are easily seen by comparing it to today's Universal Product Code (U.P.C.) barcode.

Limitations of the Item Identification Number – Benefits of the GTIN:

The U.P.C. has no weight tracking capabilities – Net Weight is a mandatory component of the GS1 DataBarTM and will provide a key data element that all participants of the meat and poultry supply chain utilize.

The U.P.C. Price field is limited to 4 characters – The GS1 DataBarTM has an Extended Price field of 5 characters. This will reduce pricing errors related to products that sell for more than $99.99.

The U.P.C. has no Date tracking capabilities – Date is an optional component of the GS1 DataBarTM and can provide the following benefits:

The U.P.C. has no Lot/Batch tracking capabilities – Lot/Batch is an optional component of the GS1 DataBarTM and can provide the following benefits:

Optional fields could be utilized for URMIS codes, markdown codes, identifying departments, and tracking coupons. Additionally, GS1 global standards will provide the following benefits for the retail segment:

Supplier and Packer Segment Benefits

The foundation for tracking and trace-back (traceability) in the supply chain originates with this segment. U.S. suppliers and packers have placed a high priority on food safety and have already made investments in systems for managing data standards. For the most part, a supplier packs, sells and ships meat and poultry products in cases. To identify those cases, the GS1-128 barcode standard is printed into a case label.

Benefits of the GS1-128 Barcode Standard:

Additionally, GS1 global standards will provide the following benefits for the supplier and packer segments:

Livestock Producer Benefits

Though the livestock producer may not be directly involved in the implementation of GS1 global standards, the segment is a direct beneficiary of the standards. To some degree, each segment of the supply chain reaps the benefits or the negative impact of what happens within the other segments. Global standards will have a positive impact on the overall well-being of the whole supply chain because it addresses many of the concerns of all of the segments.

Food safety is the biggest issue facing the industry today. Global standards address food safety by:

Today's livestock producer has numerous commerce outlets—retailers, food service, export, etc. The overall financial well-being of the producer segment is impacted by the ability to conduct efficient, accurate trade transactions with all of the commerce outlets. Commerce benefits of GS1 global standards are:

The long-term success of the livestock producer segment depends upon understanding and responding to consumer trends. The consumer is ever-changing. To meet consumer demand, the livestock producer segment needs timely signals of changes in consumer preferences. Global Standards will provide:

Though the livestock producer is upstream from the segments that will employ GS1 global standards, they are key beneficiaries and stakeholders in the success of the system.

Global Product Codes

Today's marketplace abounds with variety and there are numerous choices for just about anything that a consumer is looking for. Keeping track of all of those choices is done by utilizing some type of catalog or inventory system. Web-based electronic catalogs are becoming more popular at the expense of the paperback printed catalogs.

There are a number of different ways that products can be grouped in a catalog. Those groups of products are called categories or classification groups. Categories and classification groups are normally created and controlled by the company that publishes the catalog and tailored to fit internal systems and processes.

The marketplace is transitioning to web-based electronic commerce with more business-to-business transactions. This new electronic environment requires standards and a common language so systems can effectively communicate and conduct the necessary business transactions. This means that standardization of categories and classification groups is an essential component of global standards.

The benefits of GS1 global identification numbers are: