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GDSN Major Release 3 will Satisfy the Hunger for more Product Data in CPG and Grocery

Andrew Simpson

By Andrew Simpson

On May 12, 2016

Today’s consumers are looking to make more informed purchasing decisions on whatever platform or device is convenient to them. While this trend is not new, it is becoming more important to CPG and Grocery Retailers. And in order to support the changing behavior of consumers, CPG and Grocery Manufacturers and Retailers need to work together like never before to satisfy consumer demands or risk losing sales. One mechanism for Manufacturer and Retail collaboration is through data syndication via GS1 Certified GDSN networks. And the soon to be mandated GDSN Major Release 3 standard will drastically improve data exchange in CPG and Grocery as well as other industries.

What is GDSN Major Release 3 (MjR3)? According to GS1, it is “an update to the GDSN Standard which is scheduled to take full effect May 20th. It includes modifications of the standard requested by trading partners between 2005 and 2012, a reduction in the number of core attributes, whilst keeping those applicable for all products and sectors, and it enables sector-specific attributes to be added to the core attributes at any time, increasing flexibility.”

Some of the modifications requested by trading partners – and the business problems precipitating these requests – were captured in a 2013 study by Connie Wang and Susan Wood of Capgemini Consulting entitled “The Future of Standards in the Consumer Goods & Retail Industry”:

The nature of manufacturers’ and retailers’ interactions with consumers has changed drastically and will continue to evolve. Internet access, smartphone ownership and social media usage are becoming pervasive globally. These technologies enable people to access information when and where they want it. Consumers now demand readily available product information with realtime updates and the ability to scan barcodes or take a photo of a product to obtain information such as brand, price and stores where it is available. Many seek information beyond the label, including the stories behind the products, product origin and manufacturing working conditions. As a result, it is critical to have consistent information available via all channels: in store, online and mobile. If the brand owner or the retailer cannot provide enough information to satiate the consumer’s appetite, consumers will turn to other sources, which could be inaccurate or misleading.

Executives participating in this research say their companies face several challenges in responding to these developments:

  • Providing product information across channels
  • Increasing consumer focus on product safety and recall
  • Ensuring the quality of business-to-business (B2B) and consumer facing data
  • Growing number of data attributes
  • Ensuring data quality

Research conducted by GS1 UK, shows that 91% of mobile barcode scans returned incorrect or missing product descriptions. And research by Clavis Technologies shows that 67% of products were missing essential information such as brand name, ingredients or nutritional information on major eCommerce websites. More effective communication between Manufacturers and Retailers enabled by GDSN Major Release 3 will help alleviate these business problems. In addition, according to GS1, the standard also:

  • Introduces a smaller module based data model that better supports sector specific trading partner needs
  • Sets an expectation of shorter timelines for sectors to implement GDSN
  • Eliminates need in certain scenarios for non CPG sectors to exchange CPG attributes that were not applicable to their business model
  • Replaces a single set of CPG centric business rules applied to all sectors with validations that are meaningful to and based on sector specific business rules
  • Enables faster GS1 standards development and community implementation for new business requirements

While a major objective of Major Release 3 is to provide flexibility to support other industries beyond CPG and Grocery, the standard update will have some impact these core industries as well. In a recent webinar, GS1 outlined 19 separate areas of change in the new standard – from Nutritional information, to packaging, to packaging material, to ingredients, to sub-ingredients, to product variants. It is imperative that both CPG and Grocery Manufacturers and Retailers alike understand and adapt to these changes. Riversand’s Professional Services experts can assist CPG and Grocery Manufacturers and Retailers adapt to changing standards now and into the future.

A key enabling technology to help manage changing industry standards is Product Information Management (PIM) solutions. PIM (as defined by a recent paper from Ventana Research titled “Streamlining Information for Consumer Goods”) is the processes, information and technologies used to manage all of an organizations product information to conform to established formats and standards. PIM typically covers the following functional areas / capability segments:

  1. Product introduction and maintenance
  2. Hierarchies, Classifications and Taxonomy management
  3. Media ingestion, management and correlation
  4. Vendor / Partner Collaboration
  5. Information stewardship and governance
  6. Cross domain or multi-domain relationship management
  7. Global Data syndication

Riversand is a leader in PIM and Master Data Management solutions and has worked with leading CPG and Grocery companies to implement our solutions to support the product information supply chain including GDSN syndication to trading partners. Please contact us to learn how we can help your company meet the changing demands in the CPG and Grocery industry.