The manufacturers joined 12 other companies from the food and drink industry in committing to a common approach for exchanging product data between businesses.
Headed by supply chain standards organisation GS1 UK, the programme – called Digital DNA – could save the UK grocery sector more than £200M in costs and lost sales a year, it claimed.
The programme will offer business-to-business and business-to-consumer data exchange through a single service, available to companies of all sizes.
Industry’s ability to share data
GS1 hoped it would simplify the industry’s ability to share data and, by capitalising on ‘best-in-class’ technology, provide the basis for further innovation and ongoing efficiencies.
The programme will be owned and managed by the industry and will have a harmonised standards-based data model, according to GS1, which is easily adaptable to future legislative requirements.
Companies will be provided royalty-free access to the service and all data uploaded to it will be independently quality assessed so it can be relied on to be accurate.
GS1 ceo Gary Lynch claimed the UK had fallen behind other countries in addressing the challenge of poor quality supply chain and product data.
“This costs the industry millions through inefficiencies and lost sales, and holds back innovation that could improve the customer experience,” he added.
Using multiple channels
Technology providers 1WorldSync and Alkemics have been selected by GS1 UK’s retail grocery advisory board to develop a service where suppliers and retailers can populate and pull data using multiple channels.
The Digital DNA service will become operational later in 2017, ahead of a full industry launch in 2018.
Mark Watson, director of planning and supply chain at Ocado – one of the 12 companies that joined the programme – said: “As an industry, it is essential we work together so solve the problem of providing quality product data to all our customers.
“Giving them this information will help them make easier purchasing decisions – whether it’s based on health and wellbeing or lifestyle choices.”