Bar-code or lose-out on export markets

Published April 9th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

As Europe and the US moves increasingly to electronic commerce, importers will increasingly refuse goods that do not comply with international identification standards, predicted Mark Marriott, vice president of Symbol Technologies, an international firm developing bar-coding technology and mobile computing.  


Visiting Egypt for the ScanTech exhibition at GITEX Cairo, Marriott explained that “This is a very real concern for both the Egyptian government and the Egyptian manufacturing industry. In 1998, the European Union accounted for 47 percent of Egypt’s exports. Egypt’s biggest trade partners are moving to electronic supply chains, and unless manufacturers here adopt international product identification standards, exports will simply dry up,” predicted Marriott. 


The EAN-UCC global trade identification numbers are assigned to products and printed on them at the manufacturing base, enabling electronic stock management systems that underpin e-commerce. “Almost half of Egypt’s exports are manufactured or semi-manufactured goods — this cannot be jeopardized by something as simple as products lacking barcodes,” says Marriott. 


Global trade identification numbers are unique codes that can identify or locate any product anywhere in the world. Represented by bar codes, scanners anywhere along the supply chain can read off the identification numbers, providing accurate information for improved management. 


According to the Symbol; press release, anecdotes abound in Egypt of manufacturers who copy and paste a barcode from any product onto theirs, thinking it makes the packaging more attractive. “We urge Egyptian industry to set up a task force to investigate this issue, before it becomes a threat to this country’s economy,” concluded Marriott. 


Symbol Technologies is an international firm engaged in mobile data transaction systems, based on wireless local area networking for data and voice, application-specific mobile computing and barcode data capture. According to company figures, some 10 million Symbol barcode scanners, mobile computers and wireless LANs are utilized worldwide in markets ranging from retailing to transportation and distribution logistics, manufacturing, parcel and postal delivery, government, healthcare and education. — (Albawaba-MEBG)

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