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GS1 India is a standards organization set up in India by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, along with other apex bodies and institutions, with an objective to help Indian Industry in adopting global GS1 standards in their supply chains to enhance efficiency and profitability.

GS1 standards and technology solutions helps leading sectors like Pharma, FMCG, Agro to work efficiently in supply chain and inventory management along with many more services which will help SME’s and local manufacturers, Kirana store to boost up their efficiency in manufacturing and supplies.

 S. Swaminathan is the COO of GS1 India. In an interaction with The Tech Pod, Swaminathan speaks about the role of technology in the future of business. Read more!

Tell us something about yourself and what does GS1 India do?

GS1 India is a global standards organization, set up in India by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, along with apex trade bodies. The objective is to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels.

GS1 standards facilitate unique and universal identification, capture, and share of information on products and services, from point-of-origin to point-of-sale or dispensation. Most commonly, GS1 unique codes are used on product packages in the form of barcodes. They enable important applications such as product authentication, track & trace, product recall, real-time stocks monitoring, online selling, and more.

With the use of GS1 standards in supply chains of industries, consumers benefit from enhanced product availability, safety & security, and ability to make better purchase decisions whether shopping online or through retail chains.

How can IT offerings and services empower GS1 India to innovate and accelerate its strategies?

In today’s digital world, technology is impacting all areas of life, and businesses are no exception. Having the ability to address, identify, capture, and share information smoothly is what technology enables.

Technological innovation allows us to be customer centric by addressing their business requirements. This makes GS1 India more relevant to its customers.

Some of the innovative business offerings of GS1 India include:

  • Smart Consumer App

Smart Consumer mobile app empowers consumers to easily access reliable product information at their fingertips. The app is also used by consumers to share product feedback and complaints with manufacturers directly.

  • EPC/RFID based solutions

EPC/RFID-based projects are innovative applications of technology in several industry sectors, including Indian railways, Indian Army, NHAI, etc. The use of EPC in RFID chips facilitates track & trace, inventory management, product recall, counterfeit detection and product authentication.

What role does technology play in the business offerings by GS1 India?

Technology plays a vital role in making business transactions accurate and efficient. Speed of delivery and keeping customer informed about various product delivery statuses increase customer trust in an organization. Processes can be designed to keep customers informed throughout the process, from order confirmation to order fulfilment. Businesses are embracing technology to gain better visibility across all areas of a business and make data-driven decisions based on real-time information.

RFID technology enabled us to undertake inventory management projects with Centre Ammunition Depot of Indian Army, and uniquely identifying vehicles for faster movement on national highways.

Further, a cloud-based service offered by GS1 India is DataKart – a repository of information on Indian retail products with details on each attribute (ingredient, product image, MRP, net content, dimension, etc.). It enables brand owners to share accurate, trusted, and updated SKU data with retailers/e-tailers in a consistent, structured, and standardized manner, in real-time. It also enables brand owners to efficiently assign and manage barcode numbers (GTINs-EAN), besides generating barcode images for product packaging. 

It also powers Smart Consumer mobile app to enable consumers easily access complete and reliable product information with the simple scan of a barcode.

What is the current scope of the Internet of Things in India?

India is rapidly growing as an IoT hub. The rise of the smart home is way that the IoT is changing things for people around the world – homes filled with devices that can communicate with one another. This technology is not just constrained to our homes, it is growing in terms of both scope and capabilities. Enter the smart city, where the Internet of Things impact everything from lighting to the flow of traffic through urban centres.

There are multiple ways in which the Ministry of Urban development in India is using IoT, including building smart cities with sensors built into roadways to sense traffic lights and flow. This technology further helps in achieving important goals like improving the use of life and management of infrastructure, enhancing resident safety, and cutting costs and energy usage to be greener.

Simply stating, IoT is connecting different systems, devices, technologies, and applications across industry and around the world. GS1 standards enable unique identification of objects, assets, locations, etc., which is foundational to unleashing IoT capabilities.

In what way has COVID-19 hastened the adoption of eCommerce?

As per the white paper issued by Technopak Advisors, the share of Indian e-commerce is set to grow from the current 4% of the country’s overall food and grocery, fashion, consumer electronics retail trade to 8% by 2025, even as the economic impact of COVID-19 is set to contract India’s retail market by 25% to 40% in FY21.

As per a McKinsey report, as far as online deliveries are concerned, growth of 10 years has been achieved in 8 weeks of COVID.

While Covid-19 has affected many business across the country negatively, e-commerce is growing at much faster pace. Multiple reasons are driving this adoption, starting from consumers being wary of stepping out of their houses, online orders being fulfilled faster and more efficiently, and overall digitization rate in the country. Further, with better product listings on e-commerce portals, consumers can ensure ordering of right product while reducing the need for returns.

This is probably a great opportunity for SMEs/MSMEs to broaden their reach and strengthen their business by embracing this more shift towards digitization effectively.

GS1 India is enabling SME brand owners to enhance their businesses by selling products through multiple online marketplaces.

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