Electronic Despatch Advice demonstrated by the GS1 Australia Supply Chain Knowledge Centre helped a business visitor seeking advice on tracking and tracing products using bar code technology.
This particular business imported 100 per cent of their product from Europe with two to three full containers loose stowed per week. Their products were produced by their parent company at the global factory in Europe.
Every individual product was bar coded with a GS1 128 bar code and unique serial number, and forwarded to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider in Central Europe for distribution to the rest of world.
The business had a unique problem because the type of product they sold and the industry they belonged to necessitated the need to track and trace every single unit of the product.
The business had to physically record the item and serial number details of every single unit upon receipt as they unloaded the container, causing undue delay and cost as well as loss of time.
The company had two alternatives:
Handheld scanning device
A handheld scanning device used to scan the data can create an electronic receipt. Besides providing the track-and-trace information, producing an electronic receipt would have a number of collateral benefits such as:
- Automatically reconcile goods received against the original order
- Provide the basic information required for electronic put-away processes
- Serve as the basis for electronic order picking
- Provide the basic information required for stock rotation (FIFO)
- Serve as the basis for running real-time perpetual inventory trigger payment
Electronic Despatch Advice
The other alternative was to convince the European headquarters to switch to the Electronic Despatch Advice.
In the Electronic Despatch Advice system, each item is bar coded and has a unique serial number at manufacture. This electronic record can be passed on to the 3PL who then uses it as the basis for order fulfilment enabling the picking details to be made available to all countries in electronic form (Despatch Advice).
This could remove the necessity for receivers to scan items at receipt. The corporation as a whole could significantly reduce cost and time as well as maximise profitability.
Electronic Despatch Advice also offers a major benefit for purchasing.
The lead time case between order and delivery in this case was eight weeks. During this period the purchasing department had no information about what was not fulfilled against the original order until the entire load was verified.
The Electronic Despatch Advice would give the purchasing manager seven weeks’ advance notice before the goods arrived physically, allowing the products to be re-ordered immediately.
The GS 1 standard empowers businesses with the ability to track and trace products to meet government, industry and ethical practice requirements.