GS1 offers mobile access to standardised data

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

GS1 offers mobile access to standardised data

Related tags Supply chain Personal digital assistant

Standardised product information for the whole grocery supply chain has been opened up to mobile devices via a data management service launched by global data standards (GDS) body GS1 UK.

TrueSource gives food and drink brand owners, their suppliers and retailers online access to a single source of accurate, consistent product and order data across the whole supply chain. Changes to data can be made online in real time.

Ownership of the information lies with the manufacturers who initially upload details of all their products and use of TrueSource is limited to members, who pay an annual fee, graded according to turnover.

The initiative builds on GS1 UK’s previous work to link the entire grocery supply chain with a standard network of data on grocery products. Some of the largest international firms, including Unilever, Kraft Foods, Heinz, Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble, use the GDS Network (GDSN).

Benefits of the system

The movement is designed to make the exchange of new and updated information far quicker and simpler and cut unnecessary costs incurred by inaccurate data. ‘Bad’ data can, for example, result in lost sales or food wastage caused by wrong orders.

Relevant consumer information from TrueSource is also being made available to marketing agencies, technology and mobile developers to enable manufacturers to offer new services to savvy shoppers.

Unilever UK e-commerce director Andy Houghton said there could be commercial opportunities for manufacturers to sell data relevant to consumers to third parties. “There might be some commercial gain there.”

However, he stressed the main benefit of TrueSource was that it provided reliable product and order information, avoiding mistakes in orders and potentially enabling greater interaction with shoppers.

For example, the system would allow consumers to scan bar codes with mobile phones to check the nutritional, dietary, environmental or ethical credentials of food items.

TrueSource will be available initially to more than 1,000 suppliers and currently holds information on more than 17,000 products. However, GS1 UK said it was constantly receiving more inquiries from firms wanting to sign up to the scheme.

Potential for mobile app technology

BT Supply Chain Solutions has designed the TrueSource App, which is available through Apple iTunes for smart phones.

Research conducted by Cranfield School of Management for GS1 UK, which has just been released, shows a third of consumers have smart phones.

However, taking three generic mobile scanning apps at random and using 375 grocery products, out of 1,125 scans only 9% returned the correct product description when compared with authorised information from brand owners.

A total of 75% of scans returned no information at all and 87% returned no image of the product.

The study underlined the need for a single, authorised data pool for such devices, said GS1 UK chief executive Gary Lynch.

“It’s a great example of how TrueSource will help ensure that consumers receive trusted and authenticated information about products and services, wherever and however they interact with it.”

Related topics Supply Chain

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1 comment

An enormous responsibility

Posted by Len Garden,

"...a great example of how TrueSource will help ensure that consumers receive trusted and authenticated information about products and services..." including dioxin contamination or salmonella?

When such contamination is detected without notification, the TrueSouce name may suffer (in spite of disclaimers)

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