Global standards will help SMEs emerge stronger post pandemic

S Swaminathan, COO GS1 India

With government’s focus and support to SMEs for production of more local products to reduce dependence on imported products, COVID-19 has emerged as an opportunity for SMEs to stand back on their feet and support the economy of India to be self reliant. This has been accentuated with the stronger consumer demand for local products across categories to meet their daily needs.

Importance has also been laid on the operation and supply chain efficiencies to ensure that the companies/organisations are able to furnish demands in time while meeting consumer expectations of ready availability of products in retail stores and online marketplaces, contactless delivery from e-commerce platforms and accurate depiction of products on various consumer buying platforms.

Unique product identification is the foundation for achieving operational and supply chain efficiencies. Global supply chain standards – GS1, are used for unique identification of products across the world. Globally, over 2 million companies use GS1 barcode numbers, making it the de-facto standards for the retail industry worldwide.

In India, GS1 barcode numbers start with 890. Barcodes numbers starting with 890 depict that the products are manufactured in India.

Besides uniquely identifying products, GS1 barcode numbers also enable product manufacturers to sell their products through all retail stores and online marketplaces, enhancing market reach of your products.

Further, with GS1 barcodes numbers, manufacturers get free access to an online tool – DataKart to easily generate, manage and allocate barcode numbers on products.

Using the advanced features of DataKart, product manufacturers can share accurate and complete information on their new product introductions and product updates with multiple buyers, in one go. This helps retailers and online marketplaces to update their item masters in real time and thus reduce the PO mismatches, leading to ready availability of products for consumers and better sales.

Accurate, updated and complete product information plays a critical role, especially for online marketplaces, since the platforms are witnessing a surge of consumers on their platforms in search of better variety and demand for complete product information to make informed purchase decisions.

Further, the consistency of information across platforms enable shoppers to compare products and match discounts across websites. This also plays an important role in B2B ordering since kirana stores have started placing orders through mobiles apps of wholesalers. Hence, the consistent and complete product information in the B2B apps makes them take the right picks.

Further, since most of the product manufacturers are using various digital platforms to share and promote their products, the use of GS1 barcode numbers on product pages help in enhancing their visibility in Google, leading to more clicks.

Hence, it is recommended for product manufacturers to identify their products with GS1 barcode numbers and ensure that it is readily recognised as local products by consumers.

Also, avail the additional benefits such as counterfeit detection, product traceability and targeted product recalls as and when required using global standards based solutions.

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