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Understanding supply chain standards for the foodservice industry

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article image GS1 standards will ensure the foodservice industry experiences a simplified supply chain system, reduced costs and increased business efficiencies

The Australian foodservice industry relies on efficient supply chain management practices and the improvement of visibility of product from supplier through to the end customer.

The Australian foodservice industry supply chain is being further optimised with the introduction and adoption of the GS1 System of supply chain standards to gain the benefits of supply chain best practice. 

GS1 supply chain standards have been adopted by companies in a variety of industries including healthcare, food and grocery, general merchandise, hardware and many more in Australia and across the world to improve their efficiency and share accurate data with trading partners.

The adoption of GS1 standards will ensure the foodservice industry experiences a simplified supply chain system, reduced costs and an increase in business efficiencies.

The GS1 System is administered locally by GS1 Australia, the only organisation authorised by GS1 Global to allocate and administer GS1 Bar Code numbers in Australia.

GS1 standards in the foodservice sector

Key stakeholders in the Australian Foodservice Industry identified the need in 2013 to develop a common set of supply chain standards to improve order and supply practices, decrease operating costs and enhance customer service levels across the entire foodservice sector. 

The development of a common, global standards-based approach was also recognised as an important step to align the industry with existing supply chain practices in Australia and to ensure a more cost-efficient process.

Following a consensus regarding these standards among all key stakeholders towards the end of 2013, a Call to Action was developed and issued by GS1 Australia to communicate this agreement and start the adoption process of the GS1 System of standards across the sector. 

What is the GS1 System of standards?

The most widely used supply chain standard in the world by over 2 million companies across 150 countries on a daily basis, the GS1 System is based on an innovative and proven suite of standards that permits organisations of any size to order, track and trace, deliver and pay for goods across the supply chain, anywhere in the world. 

Call to Action initiative for the foodservice industry

The Food Service Steering Committee (FSSC) has identified the numbering and bar coding of products as the first step in improving supply chain efficiencies. This will not only enable greater data accuracy, but also allow sales and data capture technologies including warehouse management systems to utilise bar codes on products and function as designed. 

The bar code number will become the single unique product identifier for all parties in the supply chain. 

The Call to Action proposes that all products will be assigned a unique Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) on all levels of packaging and be physically bar coded with GS1 compliant bar codes by 31 December 2014.

To facilitate the process, the FSSC recommends that: the supplier assign unique Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to all levels of packaging for a product by 31 December 2014; new products introduced to the market from 1 January 2015 be physically bar coded on all levels of packaging with GS1 compliant bar codes; and all existing products in the market be physically bar coded on all levels of packaging by 31 December 2015.

More information on this foodservice industry initiative at GS1 Australia will be available on Stand E6 at the Foodservice Australia 2014 Show, The Royal Hall of Industries & Horden Pavilion, Moore Park in Sydney on 25-27 May 2014.

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