In Part 1 of our DataBar series, we looked at what GS1 DataBar is and how it will benefit retailers and manufacturers. Now, we take you on a virtual trip around the world, to see how retailers and manufacturers are preparing for the new open global standard.
From 2014, manufacturers will be able to use GS1 DataBar on any product intended for point of sale (POS), with the expectation that it will be scanned successfully by retailers everywhere. So how are retailers and manufacturers globally getting ready?
Woolworths, one of Australia’s leading retailers, has preparations well underway for DataBar. According to its latest Vendor newsletter, the supermarket chain will be GS1 DataBar ready by February 2014.
Meanwhile, GS1 Australia is proactively working with its Alliance Partner Solution Providers (including us) to increase awareness of the new barcode and its benefits across the industry.
In 2008, two leading Japanese retailers, Bunkado and Beisia, conducted DataBar pilots where staff prepared take-away meals in store. Items such as sushi and sashimi were prepared two or three times a day, many having a short shelf life of less than 24 hours.
Discounts were applied to any products that were approaching the end of their shelf life using a new GS1 DataBar Expanded label. The discount information was encoded into the symbol either as a percentage or fixed amount. Cashiers were then able to scan the discounted product quickly and accurately at POS instead of manually keying in the information. Staff could also easily remove any products that had passed the expiry hour.
The retailers configured their POS systems so that any products scanned after their expiry hour were rejected and checkout staff would be alerted to sell a fresh replacement instead. Following the trial’s success, Bunkado and Beisia have started implementing GS1 DataBar across many more products.
Loblaw Companies Limited is Canada’s largest retailer, with more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores. Back in 2007, Loblaw engaged in a limited implementation of GS1 DataBar with specific suppliers of apples and bananas. Following its success, the retailer expanded using DataBar to all its fresh produce. That’s no mean feat – the company ships on average 26,662,929 kilograms (1,900 truck loads) of fresh produce each week.
Aside from Loblaw, GS1 Canada is working with that nation’s retail industry so Canadian businesses are prepared to implement DataBar.
Statistics show that over 1, 450,000 tonnes of food and related packaging are wasted each year in the UK retail sector alone. That’s why GS1 UK is working with the Waste Reduction Project (WRAP) to help reduce food waste through using DataBar. In this project, GS1 UK is working closely with national retailers such as ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. You can read more about the project in the IBM Planet Retail report on Food Waste.
The USA was an early adopter of DataBar, with coupons and fresh produce showing huge potential. More than 75% of manufacturer-issued coupons now have both the UPC-A and GS1 DataBar symbols, according to the Joint Industry Coupon Council (JICC). In 2014, manufacturers will remove the UPC-A symbol and rely solely on the DataBar Expanded symbol.
DataBar’s use on fresh produce also keeps expanding, with leading supermarkets such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Winn-Dixie and Publix, either scanning fresh produce items with DataBar or notifying their suppliers to be ready to provide products with DataBar soon. According to Sinclair International, 60% of loose apples and pears, and half of all loose tomatoes, are now barcoded with GS1 DataBar in North America.
Most distributors across Europe are ready for this new symbology – here are a few examples:
- GS1 Belgium & Luxembourg is actively promoting GS1 DataBar to help manufacturers and distributors use GS1 DataBar on fresh and chilled foods.
- GS1 Netherlands is actively working with the DIY and gardening retail sectors that recognise the potential of GS1 DataBar. It is also exploring the use of the barcode to identify the cutting and release dates of flowers and plants, allowing retailers to offer discounted prices on older items and encourage the sale of older plants. The two largest DIY retailers in the Netherlands (and Belgium too) have been researching the possibility of using GS1 DataBar on loyalty cards.
- Austrian retail chain REWE Group has introduced GS1 DataBar across 300 of its fresh food products; while major retailer SPAR has recently started a pilot program in that includes introducing GS1 DataBar labelling on their products and a retail coupons program.
As a GS1 Strategic Alliance Partner, Matthews has a range of solutions that are suitable for printing GS1 DataBar, including thermal transfer overprinting (for snack food, confectionary and fresh produce), label printers and laser coding and marking. Call us, and we can go through your printing requirements.
GS1 Australia also has a comprehensive DataBar website that can help you implement the code, or you can call them on 1300 BARCODE (1300 227 263).
Update — on it rolls
Check out this great update of how DataBar is being used now. Interactive flag buttons show just what 13 countries around the world are up to. For instance, Macedonia is using it for meat and dairy, while in Korea, a pilot resulted in increased consumer safety, reduced product wastage and improved POS efficiencies.