GS1 Updates Standards for Real-Time Product Visibility

Benefits include improved product traceability, better supply-chain security, regulatory compliance and interoperability

GS1, the neutral, not-for-profit standards organisation has 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:

Craig Alan Repec, Senior Manager EPCglobal Technology, GS1, Tel; +32 2 788 78 16 E:                                        

Brussels, Belgium, June 6, 2014