This e-newsletter is provided by IFDA and IFMA to share progress on the GS1 US Standards Initiative.
Ann Oka of Sodexo Discusses Benefits of GS1 US Standards
In a recent interview with "SmartBlog on Food & Beverage," Ann Oka answered seven questions about Sodexo's adoption of Foodservice GS1 US Standards, including her perspective on improving traceability, cost benefits, and the biggest challenges.
Here, we share her answer to the question: How will adoption of GS1 Standards improve relationships between operators and customers?
Answer: "GS1 Standards allow us to be more flexible in addressing very specific needs, particularly around things like allergen-free products and others with a specific nutritional focus. We will be able to provide better visibility of what our customers are eating. More and more, we're getting the question, 'Where did my food come from?' As more companies adopt GS1 Standards, we will be able to know not only exactly where our products came from and where they went in the supply chain, but also where they were made and what attributes they have - direct from the source."
To see the full interview, click here.
Final Product Images Guidelines for Foodservice to be Released
in July 2012
The GS1 Product Images Task Group plans to release final image guidelines for foodservice in July 2012. The guidelines include technical standards such as naming conventions and file types, as well as a style guide with recommendations on images by product category. Currently, manufacturers are asked for images with a variety of specifications, leading to additional costs. There is also pressure on distributors by their sales force and operator customers for consistent images to support the sales process.
As GS1 US prepares to release the guidelines, efforts are being made to inform supply chain members about the development of the standards and what they can mean to the industry. Product Images Task Group Co-Chairs Gene Carbonara of US Foods and Eric Ginsberg of Heinz Foodservice provided an overview of the product image guidelines at the June 2012 GS1 Connect conference.
More Than 400 Foodservice Participants Share Knowledge / Get the
Latest on Standards Implementation at GS1 Connect 2012
Of the 1,300 attending the GS1 US annual conference in June, more than 400 were foodservice participants and included manufacturers, distributors, and operators that are engaged in implementation of the standards or are considering standards adoption at their companies. The rising adoption rate in the foodservice channel led GS1 to offer a significantly expanded foodservice track at an event that also addresses GS1 standards in healthcare, apparel, and retail food.
Jim Thomas, vice president of supply chain management for Darden Restaurants discussed why his company is engaged in the foodservice initiative during a panel discussion that included representatives from each of the attending industries. While establishing an improved platform for traceability was an important part of Darden's decision to engage, streamlining the supply chain for the company's nearly 2,000 restaurants played a large role as well. "We get one shred of bad data, and we spend minutes, hours, and days tracing down that bad data," he said.
Subjects addressed in more than 20 foodservice track workshops ranged from GTIN allocation rules to image standards and included an array of industry executives active in implementation. During a session on data synchronization, Debbie Bower and Kevin Baum of Dot Foods discussed how marketing and nutritional information received through the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) is being used on the Dot Expressway. In a session titled "Quality Data and Your Foodservice Customers," Jason Gunn of US Foods and Deanne Brandstetter, RD, of Compass Group North America talked about product information and the different ways supply chain partners use that information. Brandstetter in particular pointed out how accurate, regularly updated nutritional and allergen information remains a key need for her team of recipe developers, dieticians, and foodservice directors, particularly in regards to the healthcare and school foodservice arenas.
The conference also included "Face-to-Face" meetings for foodservice companies involved in implementation. Companies met one-on-one to share accomplishments, discuss goals moving forward, and to work through challenges with adoption and implementation of GS1 Standards.
Improved Traceability Highlighted in Global Location Number
(GLN) White Paper
The Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative released a new white paper, GLN Opportunities in the Foodservice Supply Chain, in support of the adoption of global product location identification to lay the groundwork for improved traceability.
Currently, foodservice account/location identifiers are created and maintained by individual trading partners, states the white paper. Each unique business relationship between two foodservice trading partners produces a set of proprietary account/location numbers specific to that relationship. With numerous identifiers for the same account/location, trading partners are creating and managing cross-references and data maps to that information. For example, operators often map the multitude of "customer numbers" assigned by their trading partners to a single internal number they assign. Not only is this high maintenance, but variations in the format of identifiers also complicate the effort.
The GLN white paper addresses the challenges with the current approach and spells out the benefits of GLN adoption in streamlining traceability in the foodservice industry. Adoption of the GLN would standardize account/location numbers so that each foodservice location would only have one, globally unique identifier that all trading partners use to identify that location in all supply chain transactions and communications.
The white paper can be accessed on the "Tools and Resources" page of the Foodservice GS1 US website under the "GLN / GTN" subhead. To access the Tools and Resources page, click here.
GDSN Activity Reaches Milestone
The Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative reached a milestone in June 2012, with the total number of Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) subscribers surpassing 2,000. GDSN activity has grown significantly in the past few months and since the launch of the initiative in 2009, the number of GDSN subscribers has grown more than ten-fold.
While the number of subscribers already publishing data stands at 1,984, the number of companies receiving data still remains low at just 36. Nonetheless, 268 trading partners have self-reported their readiness to receive information published on the GDSN. In response, GS1 US has been working with initiative members and other industry players to work through questions and challenges associated with sharing and receiving data.
Other News In Brief
• Based on the current nutritionals for foodservice products required by the Food & Drug Administration, the GS1 Initiative's Nutritional Attribute Requirements Task Group is developing an industry guideline for the sharing of nutritional and allergen data through the GDSN. The guideline is scheduled to be released in 2012.
• A comprehensive guide for populating GDSN Foodservice Attributes is currently in development to support industry-wide implementation. Initiative members hope to release the guide later this summer.
• Foodservice distribution buying group UniPro Foodservice reported in May 2012 that 263 of their manufacturers are engaged in the GS1 Standards effort. Of those, 166 are publishing data on 41,158 SKUs.
• Chicago-based research firm Technomic has joined the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative, bringing the total number of "initiative members" to 83. The initiative began with 55 founding members. Please note: Full members of the initiative have the opportunity to participate in various work and task groups shaping the initiative. Foodservice companies do not have to be "full members" to participate in implementation through a certified data pool.
Sysco Corporation Selects itradenetwork as its GDSN Data Pool
In early June 2012, itradenetwork (ITN) announced that Sysco Corporation has selected ITN as the company's Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) data pool service provider. Sysco's VP of Supply Chain Robert Howell stated that the company is excited to take this next important step to synchronization of product data through use of the GDSN, and said the solution would allow Sysco "to achieve the objective of complete, accurate and synchronized product information..."
Darden Discusses Use of PTI and Foodservice GS1 US
At the May 2012 Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) Leadership Council meeting, Darden's Ana Hooper, vice president of total quality, provided an update on "marrying" PTI with the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative as well as leveraging the traceability guidance developed for the seafood industry and the meat and poultry industry. "Traceability is at the heart of all of these voluntary industry efforts," said Hooper.