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New barcode system seen to benefit supermarkets


SUPERMARKETS are set to benefit from the planned adoption of a new barcoding system by 2025 as this would help make their operations more efficient, according to an industry group.

Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association President Steven T. Cua said the upcoming shift to the quick response (QR) code matrix 2D barcodes from the 1D black and white vertical lines would boost the efficiency of retailers.

“The benefits include efficiency in transactions on the part of retailers,” Mr. Cua told BusinessWorld in a Viber message, citing “pertinent product information on the part of store merchandise buyers like place of origin, date of manufacture/harvest, date of expiration/spoilage, and customers (institutional/commercial users, smaller retailers and end-users).”

However, Mr. Cua said the new price coding system would require a change in the software and hardware used by supermarkets.

He added that it would take longer for smaller retailers to implement the new barcode due to the required capital outlay unless service providers would introduce installment payment programs. 

“Supermarkets are totally unprepared for this given an overhaul in this price-capturing system. There is, after all, a need for advanced scanning technology/software requiring totally new hardware,” Mr. Cua said.

“The new price coding system using the QR Code requires a total change of software and hardware to capture the more comprehensive data of manufactured products and fresh produce. The sooner retailers jump into the fray to create volume for software and hardware providers, the cheaper the technology becomes available to retailers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cua said the economy would also benefit from the shift to the new barcoding system since it would be implemented globally by 2025.

Mr. Cua said that since the global system will be uniformly implemented worldwide — much like the current barcode system — the country should adopt it “to make trade and merchandising of products hailing from anywhere in this planet easy to understand, monitor and acceptable.”

He added that local food retailers “will have to swallow the bitter pill” and shift or adopt the “new economic order within the next few years or be left behind in serving the demands of evolving consumers.” 

The Philippine Retailers Association previously said that the new barcoding system would be trialed in the country by the first quarter of next year ahead of the upcoming global implementation. Both 1D and 2D barcodes will be used in the first two years of implementation to allow a transition period for retailers and manufacturers. 

Some of the expected benefits of the new barcode include better traceability with more available information and more consumer-friendly as the QR code also contains other product information that could be accessed by consumers. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Neil Banzuelo

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