GS1, the neutral, not-for-profit standards organisation today announced that its EPCIS and Core Business Vocabulary (CBV) standards for event-based supply chain visibility have been ratified by the Joint Technical Committee on information technology of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
EPCIS is an open standard which allows businesses to capture and share information about the movement and status – the what, where, when and why – of products, logistics units and other assets in the supply chain. As a companion standard to EPCIS, the CBV defines a standardised vocabulary, ensuring that all trading partners exchanging supply chain visibility data have a common and consistent understanding of the business meaning of that information.
Initially published in 2007, EPCIS is increasingly deployed in sectors such as transport and logistics, fresh foods and healthcare to expand visibility and improve efficiency in areas ranging from inventory management to consumer and patient safety. EPCIS’ versatility has also helped drive adoption of the standard, which allows for industry-specific enhancements and can be implemented with a number of different data carriers, including GS1 barcodes and EPC/RFID tags as well as others.
The ability to capture information about the transformation of meat, fish, produce and upstream ingredients makes EPCIS an ideal enabler of farm-to-fork traceability. Similarly, EPCIS can be leveraged to dramatically reduce opportunities for undetected manipulation or counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products.
“We are seeing EPCIS emerge as a way to reliably document chain of custody and chain of ownership. Such information trails are mandatory in a growing number of regulatory jurisdictions, as they help prevent counterfeits from entering legitimate supply chains,” confirmed Scott Mooney, Vice President of Distribution Operations / Traceability at McKesson Pharmaceutical. “Of even greater importance is patient safety, which can be improved substantially by the supply chain visibility that EPCIS helps provide.”
"The ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC 1) is very pleased to take the important work of GS1 and have it transposed into formally approved ISO/IEC Standards," said Karen Higginbottom, ISO/IEC JTC 1 Chair. "It marks once again the strong and constructive relationship between our organisations."
The new ISO/IEC international designation will enable governmental agencies and regulated sectors to make direct reference to the standard where appropriate, proving compliance with traceability and visibility regulations using an “official” standard. It also reinforces the implementation of the standard in commercial software solutions and hence its deployment across multiple sectors. “More and more SAP implementations rely on EPCIS to satisfy our customers’ supply chain visibility requirements,” observed Christian Roediger, Solution Expert for Supply Chain Integrity at SAP.
“We are delighted that the ISO/IEC JTC1 member countries recognise the great value of EPCIS as a fundamental step toward global traceability,” says Miguel Lopera, President and CEO of GS1. “The diversity of industries able to use this standard for the greater good demonstrates its comprehensive value, the very definition of what a standard strives to do. This milestone confirms that we move ever closer to the mission of our unique organisation: to transform businesses and improve people’s lives around the world.”
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