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End of Year Update for Members

December 2023

A note to members from Mike Byrne, Chief Executive GS1 Ireland

Mike Byrne CEO GS1 Ireland

Dear Member,

2023 was a very special year for GS1 as we celebrated our 50th anniversary. Our digital journey started in 1973 when industry leaders around the globe agreed to use the GS1 barcode as a single standard for product identification.

The standard which they adopted was the Global Trade Item Number or GTIN (also known as EAN or UPC), encoded into a linear 1-dimensional barcode as the standard way to identify products globally. This created a revolution, transforming the way we work and live. The GTIN, and other GS1 identification standards, have provided great efficiencies across supply chains in more than 25 industries, across 150 countries. Today, GS1 serves four thousand businesses and organisations here in Ireland and over two million companies globally. More than 1 billion products have a GS1 barcode, and our barcodes are scanned over ten billion times each day.

Introducing Next Generation Barcodes: One Scan, Infinite Possibilities

Today we stand at the beginning of another revolution! As consumers, we are demanding more information about the products we purchase, and regulators are requiring greater disclosure on ingredients, nutrition, safety, and sustainability. This has led to a need to more effectively track and trace products through the supply chain to mitigate risks and improve customer service.

With our next generation 2D barcodes such as Data Matrix, and QR codes powered by GS1, alongside our global registries for product and location IDs, we have the potential to transform the next 50 years. These innovations will further enhance consumer engagement and patient safety, enabling greater supply chain visibility and traceability, and supporting a more sustainable and circular economy.

2D barcodes will provide a much better consumer experience: when a 2D barcode is encoded based on the open GS1 Digital Link standard, it enables the code to be scanned by a smartphone, directing consumers to a brand or retailer web page for more information, while at the same time facilitating checkout scanning.  Brand owners and retailers can also choose to encode additional data in the 2D barcode, product expiry date, lot number, serial number, for example to support supply chain optimisation. These extra benefits and data aren't possible today with traditional linear barcodes. 

Delivering Value for our Members in 2023

Progress in Healthcare

Our work in healthcare continued with the HSE’s National Immunisation Office with the provision of the GS1 standards-based software, TrackVax. Initially designed for the tracking of the COVID-19 vaccines, TrackVax has been further developed to support all vaccines and is an excellent example of GS1 standards delivering safety and efficiencies in healthcare.  

Scan4Safety, which includes barcode scanning at the point of care and inventory management, is gaining traction in the public and private hospitals as a result of regulatory and safety drivers. GS1 Ireland are actively supporting and guiding the HSE and hospitals as they further adopt GS1 Traceability Standards within their processes. Read more in our library of healthcare case studies.

Education and Advisory Services

During 2023 our Industry Engagement Teams in Retail, Healthcare and Construction delivered training and advisory sessions to over 300 of you, on how to drive value from your use of GS1 standards and services. We also supported many other agencies with advice, including Re-turn on the requirement for the new GTIN to support Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme which will commence for consumers on 1st February 2024.

As member-governed, not-for-profit organisation, GS1 Ireland is proud to offer its members a portfolio of licences, services, and tools that empower organisations to grow efficiently, sustainably, and safely. As many of our members across all sectors are commencing their digital transformation and are moving to 2D barcodes for product identification we are conscious of an ever-increasing demand for training and advice. To meet this demand, from January 2024 GS1 Ireland will provide a new bundled series for Level 1 and Level 2 barcode training courses for a reduced fee of €149 per person. Details of the courses are now available website and registration is open.  View Calendar for dates and booking.

Our Commitment to our Members

We are pleased to report that our Members continue to respond to changes in buyer and market-place behaviour using new GS1 standards and solutions such as Barcode Manager,Verified by GS1 and GS1 Digital Link to highlight their product offerings. We look forward to supporting more members with their business needs, and with your digital transformation through the adoption of next generation 2D barcodes in 2024.

Our commitment to you is that we will do everything possible to ensure you have access to the support you need in a radically changing business environment. We are available to all members to meet your requirements for product identification, traceability, sustainability, and labelling requirements. 

Please contact us and an expert member of our Industry Engagement team will be delighted to assist.

Mike Byrne, Chief Executive GS1 Ireland, December 2023

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