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General Merchandise

Data quality and data sharing are keys to product safety compliance—and more efficient supply chain management

Companies today are facing stringent expectations around product safety. They are expected to satisfy increasing industry requirements and consumer demand for more—and better—product information in today’s omni-channel, connected retail world. At the same time, businesses that can get their product on shelf faster, reduce logistics costs and build better trading partner and customer relationships, have a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.

At the heart of this issue is the ability to accurately identify, capture, and share information about products people buy—by all stakeholders across all points of the supply chain. To be useful, data must be recorded in a “common language,” (by using GS1 Standards) and synchronized to allow companies and their trading partners to share product information and automate processes.

GS1 US is actively working with the general merchandise industry to address supply chain challenges and utilize standards-based solutions to combat counterfeits, remove unsafe products from shelves, empower consumers to know more about the products they buy, and protect brand integrity. We provide guidance on how standards can play a role in harmonizing local regulatory requirements in various parts of the world.

Pilots Show Significant Returns for Implementing Business-to-Business e-Commerce Standards at International Borders

GS1 US has worked side-by-side with members of the US International Trade Data System (ITDS) Product Information Committee to explore how the use of global e-commerce standards – as part of a rigorous IT strategy – can improve product visibility across borders, improve consumer security, and deliver significant cost savings to industry, government, national regulators, and customers alike.

In 2011, 24 million shipments of FDA-regulated goods passed through the United States’ 300 ports. With multiple global classification standards in place, the inspection process is time consuming, costly, and often manual. The US International Trade Data System (ITDS) Product Information Committee recommended three principal strategies to help solve this challenge:

  • Create a global language
  • Identify products by brand and model
  • Leverage product catalogs

These strategies were put to the test via industry pilots. The Committee selected a sample of diverse product sets: toys and games (trade partner: Hasbro), cut flowers (trade partner: Association of Floral Importers of Florida), and meat and poultry (trade partner: Tyson Foods).

The goal: improve product visibility and, ultimately, ensure product safety in categories including toys and games—which encompasses more than 850,000 products with a declared value of $14.5 billion imported into the U.S. in 2010.

The pilots showed that industry can be a leader in transforming global commerce, which in the case of toys and games will help the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reduce consumers’ exposure to health and safety hazards in products.  Use of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) and Global Product Classification (GPC) codes reduced the volume of consumer products subject to examination of toy and game products by 80% or more.

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Using standards to manage product safety information

GS1 US has worked side-by-side with members of the International Trade Data System’s Product Information Committee on pilot studies to validate the business case for using ecommerce data to manage product admission at the borders.

The goal: improve product visibility and, ultimately, ensure product safety in categories including toys and games—which encompasses more than 850,000 products with a declared value of $14.5 billion imported into the U.S. in 2010.

The pilot showed that the use of GS1 Standards did help improve information visibility, which will help the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reduce consumers’ exposure to health and safety hazards in products. And, new efficiencies could save toy importers and brand owners save an estimated $16.8 million over five years, plus $775,000 in savings for the CPSC. Similar savings could be possible in other categories.

For more information: www.itds.gov

Partner Connections Program

Through the GS1 US Partner Connections program, companies establish their GS1 Company Prefix, can access educational resources and receive exclusive discounts.