The ability to track and trace goods across multiple trading partners with real-time visibility and quickly respond to market needs is the key to a successful and efficiently managed supply chain. In this context, businesses such as manufacturers, logistics providers and retailers are facing a multitude of challenges, which include:
- Higher than ever expectations of quality and safety from consumers
- Increased demand for quick and efficient responses to questions regarding product ingredients from regulators
- Need for immediate and effective product withdrawals/recalls in the event of a crisis
- Increased demand for product authentication and counterfeit detection to protect brand integrity and consumer safety
GS1 standards provide the necessary framework required to support a seamless traceability system. GS1 Global Traceability Standard (GTS), developed in 2005 with the active participation of global industry, defines the globally-accepted method for uniquely identifying and sharing information on - trading partners, trading locations, trading items, logistics units, Inbound and outbound shipments.
For more than a decade, the GTS has helped industry to frame and guide the implementation of traceability solutions and enable compliance with all major global regulations such as ISO standards on traceability and recall, G.A.P (Good Agricultural Practice), EU Food Law, U.S. Bioterrorism Act and HACCP, among others, and has been endorsed by major food trade bodies, like the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and IFS.
With business challenges that relate to traceability solutions increasing in number and complexity, and with newer emerging technologies, GS1 is working on GTS 2. The updated standard will include references to new technical possibilities such as EPCIS. There will be references to new data and event-sharing architectures such as the possibility to connect databases and to search for information in the “cloud”. GTS 2 will remain global and multi-sectorial, and continue to meet the needs of all industries and geographies.
Why is traceability important in the supply chain?
- To know the current location of the product
- To rapidly withdraw harmful or unsafe products from the market
- To better inform consumers about the ingredients (e.g. allergens), their origin and method of production (e.g. tested on animals)
- To improve stock management and return flows
- To prevent counterfeit of goods
- To enhance consumer confidence through enhanced product safety
- For better expiry date and waste management
- For improved Product Life Cycle management
- To ensure the right product for the right use (e.g. right patient)