How Top Companies Are Digitizing Their Supply Chains

To meet the ever-evolving demands for information, everyone in a supply chain needs to know what’s available, where it is, and how much there is. But manual processes and inconsistent data structures can make it hard to share this information across trading partners.

Fortunately, the costs of adopting technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and two dimensional (2D) barcodes make solutions to supply chain challenges more affordable and accessible than ever. From t-shirts to hamburgers to patient care, these technologies are being implemented by leaders across the globe.

Warehouse worker scanning with RFID reader

Changing the Game With RFID

Decathlon logo

Decathlon Finishes First With RFID

RFID technology has been used in the apparel and general merchandise space for years, and Decathlon, a global sporting goods retailer, was a forerunner. Today, 100% of Decathlon products carry an RFID tag that powers operations, extending from its production lines to its checkout lines.

Accurately tracking the availability of products was the original impetus behind Decathlon’s investments in RFID. Missed sales were having an impact on both revenue and customer satisfaction, but with RFID, Decathlon was able to better track their inventory—and do it quicker.

Before RFID, staff members would confirm whether a product was labeled correctly by scanning the barcode and then entering the data into a database. The whole process took about 12 seconds per item. RFID simplified this procedure and shortened the entire process to less than three seconds. Using a handheld reader or racket, the accuracy of sorting was also greatly improved.

Although the difference between the two operations at first glance is less than 10 seconds, when you calculate the thousands of times this activity occurs worldwide, the time savings are huge.

Golden State Foods logo

Golden State Foods Delivers Visibility with a Side of Innovation

While speed is one advantage, using RFID technology across the supply chain can also provide precise accuracy, including case-level visibility into exactly where products are and what quantities are present. For example, Golden State Foods, one of the largest diversified suppliers to the foodservice industry, executed a pilot to digitally track cases of beef patties along their journey from when they are made, distributed, and received at their final destination with the help of RFID powered by GS1 Standards.

Exceeding expectations, Golden State Foods was able to not only track and monitor the freshness of the beef patties, but the pilot also awakened the senses to the art of the possible. It demonstrated how the convergence of standards, thought leadership, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies enabled the potential to optimize inventory, improve product case rotation, and enhance shelf-life management.

2D Barcodes Transforming Retail and Beyond

Dillard's Logo

Dillard’s Highlights Pivotal Role of 2D Barcodes in Retail Innovation

2D barcodes can improve inventory visibility while also providing better customer service and enhanced consumer storytelling possibilities. Chuck Lasley, IT Director at Dillard’s, recently joined the Next Level Supply Chain podcast to illustrate Dillard’s strategy of incorporating these versatile barcodes into their products, which range from apparel to accessories. Amid the growing demand for intricate product details, Lasley emphasizes the imperative for sales associates to be adept in product knowledge facilitated by 2D barcodes.

Fresenius Kabi logo

Fresenius Kabi Infuses Safety From Production to Patient With Unit-of-Use 2D Barcodes

The benefits of 2D barcodes aren’t just limited to people purchasing clothing. Global healthcare company Fresenius Kabi continued its tradition of innovation by enhancing their labeling with the GS1 DataMatrix, a 2D barcode, to deliver what their customers—hospitals around the globe—have been asking for: more data available digitally, when and where it is needed. 

The GS1 DataMatrix supports safety checks during preparation, dispensing, and administration to support superior patient care. With each dose of medication carrying core lot and expiration data, along with other identifying information, clinicians can quickly and more precisely verify medications are in-date and not recalled.

How Can GS1 US Help?

Identifying the products, places, and shipments in the supply chain is a great place to start. But choosing the right data carrier is also a critical step. Industries have historically used one of the simplest, most-reliable data carriers: the UPC barcode. However, with the amount of data that must be captured and shared across the supply chain, newer data carriers, like RFID and 2D barcodes powered by GS1 Standards have the potential to revolutionize commerce. 

In fact, industry has set 2027 as the goal date for accepting 2D barcodes at point-of-sale, and GS1 US® is helping supply- and demand-side organizations and solution partners get started on the transition. Become an industry leader in the adoption of 2D barcodes.

Related Articles

Here are additional resources that might interest you:

Warehouse manager with ipad

Using RFID Technology for Inventory Management

Unlock operational efficiency with accurate, real-time visibility into inventory levels

Shopper scanning product with phone

Shop Smarter With 2D Barcodes

Change the way we eat, shop, and live by having a better barcode

Warehouse operator taking inventory

Improving Inventory Management & Fulfillment

Boost efficiency and transform your customers’ experience