Top retailers target £200m boost from better data

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A dozen of the UK’s biggest retailers and brand owners have signed up to a plan that could save £200m by transforming the way product data is managed and exchanged.

GS1 UK, the supply chain standards organisation, has developed the Digital DNA scheme which is backed by the Co-op, Itsu, L’Oréal, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Ocado, PepsiCo, P&G, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Unilever and Waitrose.

Two technology providers, 1WorldSync and Alkemics, are working on a pilot programme to demonstrate how the service will work, and how retailers and suppliers can populate and pull data to and from the service using multiple channels.

A number of SMEs are supporting the pilot, ensuring the inclusive nature of the service.

GSI chief executive Gary Lynch said the UK had fallen behind other countries in addressing the challenge of poor quality supply chain and product data.

“This costs the industry millions through inefficiencies and lost sales, and holds back innovation that could improve the customer experience.”

The Digital DNA programme was launched in late 2016 by the GS1 UK Retail Grocery Advisory Board. The Digital DNA industry charter sets out key principles for the service: that it is industry-owned and governed, and is built on open, global GS1 standards.

Gianluca Branda, associate director, product supply at P&G Northern Europe, said: “Currently, brands provide product information in multiple ways to different retailers and this adds both cost and complexity. The companies who have signed the Digital DNA industry charter are committed to working not only together, but also with all our trading partners to launch this new service – for the benefit of everyone in the industry, including of course, our customers.”

And Mark Watson, director of planning & supply chain at Ocado, said: “As an industry, it is essential we work together so solve the problem of providing quality product data to all our customers. Giving them this information will help them make easier purchasing decisions – whether it’s based on health and wellbeing or lifestyle choices.”

The Digital DNA service will enter operational use later in 2017, ahead of a full industry launch in 2018.

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