GS1 Guidelines: Supporting Utopia Through the Supply Chain
GS1 Guidelines are championing the expansion and growth of businesses through creating a common language, from the inception of an idea, to the birth of a product, to its final destination in the marketplace. With the belief that businesses need to be able to understand each other, anywhere in the world and at any point in the supply chain, they benefit from moving their inventory efficiently and effectively by sharing a universal language.
The apparel industry's leading U.S. retailers, technology companies, and clothing manufacturers, are staunchly supporting the new guidelines – which makes it possible to track unique articles as they move through the universal supply chain – allowing them to effectively communicate with each other, reducing labor hours and overall costs.
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Through the use of Electronic Product Codes (EPC) and enabled Radio Frequency Indentification (RFID), retailers are now acquiring an insight into their supply chain, that they've never had before. And, because RFID doesn’t require a warm body to read codes and has expansive read ranges, hundreds of tags can be read in an instant, while still in motion.
The optimization of supply chain management, through RFID technology, is driving performance, cutting costs, minimizing inventory, and accelerating the time it takes to deliver products to the market. It allows the ability to meticulously and readily distinguish, acquire, and share information that can be adopted throughout the supply chain - from source, to distribution, to store.
The unique EPC number that classifies an item can also be associated with its history such as date and time of production, the materials used for making the item, and who made and inspected the item. By integrating the information from the EPC number and production systems, apparel manufacturers benefit from increased visibility of tracking their product, to quality control, and returns or recalls.
This technology is a relatively low-cost and effective way to make it possible for the right product to be in the right place, at the right time. The supply chain becomes more transparent, effectively reducing costs, improving processes, and optimizing product life cycles – all keys to building consumer trust and thriving in today’s world marketplace.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.