Submitted by Honeywell Scanning & Mobility
The next major Sunrise date in the US for GS1 DataBar™ is almost upon us. GS1 US had recommended, "that retailers in the business of selling loose produce and processing manufacturer coupons begin preparing point-of-sale hardware and software systems to scan and process GS1 DataBar symbols and numbers by January 1, 2010."
Ubiquitous use of these smaller, data-rich bar codes by January 1, 2010 will not quite be a reality, yet their use is becoming more pervasive, and the benefits of their eventual full implementation should neither be dismissed nor ignored.
The GS1 DataBar symbols (formerly known as Reduced Space Symbology-RSS) hold more information in a much smaller footprint than traditional EAN/UPC bar code. And though it is not intended to replace EAN/UPC bar codes on all categories of products, there are significant benefits that are already being implemented for loose produce and coupons.
The smaller size of these bar codes allows loose produce to be tagged. The benefits of this use, according to the Produce Marketing Association, "include: 1. Increased accuracy of product identification of loose items (such as organically grown versus conventionally grown) by scanning instead of key-entering PLU codes; 2. Better product management through the supply chain, including point-of-sale; 3. Better traceability; 4. Better category management; 5. Better shrink control 6. Improved consumer shopping experience with more efficient bar codes."
Similarly, the increased information held in the GS1 DataBar has appeal for use in coupons. Additional offer details can be included in the bar code, such as values up to $99.99, quantity, expiration, product pairings, plus it can eliminate the need for cashiers to manually verify requirements for coupon use. As a part of the transition to this new use, coupons currently have displayed both U.P.C.-A and GS1 DataBar bar codes. The original recommendation of the GS1 had been to remove the U.P.C.-A and solely use GS1 DataBar by the Jan 1, 2010 Sunrise date.
Upon further review of the implementation of GS1 DataBar, the Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) recommended that manufacturers' coupons continue to carry both GS1 DataBar and the U.P.C.-A symbol until January 1, 2011. This would give retailers and other trading partners more time to ensure their systems were fully in place for using GS1 DataBar bar codes.
A concern is that this will send the wrong message, and that retailers and other members of the supply-chain will not continue their preparations to be compatible with GS1 DataBar. In response to this concern the JICC stated, that "Despite the deferred implementation position of the committee, the JICC encourages retailers to proceed with implementation of the GS1 DataBar as soon as they are ready and not wait until the 2011 date."
Not IF, But WHEN
The GS1 DataBar implementation for loose produce and coupons is upon us. The GS1 US recommends, "that all other categories of retailers consider preparing point-of-sale hardware and software systems to scan and process GS1 DataBar symbols and numbers by January 1, 2014." The discussion can no longer be about if retailers will have systems in place to handle GS1 DataBar symbols, but rather how soon the significant benefits of GS1 DataBar implementation will be reaped. Any member of the supply chain that is not yet prepared has a shrinking window of time in which to do so
For more information on the GS1 DataBar Sunrise Dates for the United States, click here.
For more information on Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, and its broad product line of GS1 DataBar capable scanners and mobile computers, click here.