The GS1 Global Forum 2018

The GS1 Global Forum is our global annual event to align the organisation’s strategy, and to inspire and strengthen the GS1 staff around the world. This year, it was focused on our Big Picture project and on the GS1 Cloud, two major initiatives that are helping to guide GS1 through the transformations needed to ensure relevance to industry for years to come. It was also about the people of GS1 – and how as one organisation working together anything is possible.

Back for the second year at the SQUARE Meeting Centre in the centre of Brussels, this year’s Global Forum set new records for attendance and content:

  • 836 Participants
  • 95 Member Organisations (MOs)
  • 53 Engaging Workshops
  • 5 Plenaries
  • Board meetings,
  • 20+ MO/GO meetings
  • 40 Industry-leading speakers
  • 1 Incredible Market Place Expo
  • 5 Great days of networking

The GS1 family came together this year to learn, share and network – learning how to expand on the GS1 Cloud while keeping the GS1 Big Picture in mind for a wide range of sectors. Topics included making healthcare safer, more efficient and more effective, connecting the digital and physical worlds in retail, and other strategic topics. With over 50 workshops, topics ranged from improving supply chain efficiency to patient safety. Attendees received education and new tools covering all our top priorities.

Video journalist Chris Burns once again joined us for GS1 TV so those not attending could hear the personal stories of Global Forum participants and GS1 breaking news from the leaders who make it happen. Be sure to watch all three of the 15-minute news summaries available on the MO Zone.

Below please find a summary of the week:

Opening Plenary focuses on the people of GS1

“The Global Forum is the most important event of GS1. It is where we, as an incredible federation of people, are working together to make lives and business better. This is why we are here.” Miguel Lopera, GS1, President & CEO

On Monday, Miguel Lopera opened the plenary reflecting on the many achievements of 2017. He invited attendees to spend the week working hard, sharing and enjoying being with an incredible family of peers.

We then heard from Kathryn E. Wengel, from Johnson & Johnson, who explained how GS1 truly can be the enabler of change by providing the infrastructure and the tools that we need to connect in a different way. This will not only change how GS1 works with retailers and brand owners, but also how we will work within GS1 and how MOs will work together to scale the best ideas. It will allow us to build the GS1 Big Picture and GS1 Cloud in a way that enables local MOs to use global expertise to enable all business to grow and thrive.

“What is special about the GS1 Cloud is that it will allow the single source of truth –  it is a process by which consumers can have true transparency”.Kathy Wengel, Johnson & Johnson

The “Everyone Makes a Difference” Awards

“Today we would like to recognise only a fraction, as we do know that everyone makes a difference at GS1, but there are some people that really stand out.” – Tim Smucker, The J.M. Smucker Co., GS1 Chairman Emeritus

The award, sponsored by Tim and Jenny Smucker, was created to recognise outstanding individuals in the GS1 MO community who exemplify the GS1 mantra, “See one vision. Speak with one voice. Act as one organisation”. The award acknowledges the hard work, dedication and tireless commitment of those who embrace the GS1 vision, are shining examples of our fundamental beliefs, and who have worked to support GS1 as an interdependent organisation. Congratulations to the 10 winners:

  • Roxana Saravia, GS1 Argentina
  • Ana Paula Vendramini Maniero, GS1 Brasil
  • Mike Sadiwnyk, GS1 Canada
  • Dr. Kong Hongliang, GS1 China
  • Thomas Tluchar, GS1 Czech Republic
  • Rainer Räbiger, GS1 Germany
  • Andrew Hearn, GS1 Global Office
  • Frits van den Bos, GS1 Netherlands
  • Naeem Ahmed, GS1 Saudi Arabia
  • Linda Bennett, GS1 Sweden

Retail Plenary focuses on the value of GS1 membership

“Work is being done across GS1 to bridge the physical and digital worlds. We are investing time and energy into expanding GS1’s role in the Internet of Things and we are working to communicate how both our language of business and globally unique and persistent identification can be used to augment the digital world with information from the physical world.” Robert Beideman, SVP-Solutions & Innovation, GS1 Global Office

The Retail Plenary opened with remarks by Robert Beideman, SVP-Solutions & Innovation, GS1 Global Office. He explained how the foundation for what companies need to do to compete in an omni-channel world is simple:

  • Identification
  • Data
  • Events
  • Interoperability

There needs to be increased transparency, speed and trust between customers and companies, and this will happen by ensuring that the physical and the digital worlds of commerce are complimentary, interconnected and interdependent.  Robert discussed the need for GS1 to keep pace with the quickly changing global landscape, and how the GS1 Cloud will become an authoritative source of identity authentication and basic brand-sourced product data. If GS1 MOs bring together data from around the world and start to leverage a common infrastructure, together we will create something truly global which we can leverage locally.

Robert also introduced GS1 Activate, the new product data management service from the GS1 Cloud that provides brand owners and manufacturers, no matter how small, with the ability to easily identify their products with GTINs and barcodes and to create, store, share and update their product data—all at a global level.

François Deprey, GS1 France spoke about the value of GS1 membership, and how what was once about getting identifiers for your products is now about connecting your products and your business to the world. This changes everything for GS1.

François then introduced a distinguished panel of industry leaders who explained how the value of GS1 membership is growing across the retail industry. This evolution reflects the work we have done to integrate GS1’s standards, solutions and services so that our members can truly leverage the power of GS1 across their organisations.

Renaud de Barbuat, Carrefour; Rob Rekrutiak, Google Shopping, and Chris Resweber, The J.M. Smucker Co. . explained how GS1 is working to serve the retail industry in meaningful ways, now and long into the future. We learned how linking the digital and physical worlds will help industry to reduce costs, to remove friction from business processes and to create valuable consumer experiences.

Healthcare Plenary focuses on collaboration to enhance patient safety

“Could GS1 be adapted and translated from product identification to contribute to ensuring a better outcome and a safer patient pathway? We need the intellect, we need the skills and we certainly need the heart. Patient safety touches lives, and patient safety is a global public health issue.”Margaret Murphy, World Health Organisation (WHO), chair & opening presenter

Tuesday at the Forum we heard from different healthcare stakeholders who discussed the benefits of GS1 standards across the entire healthcare sector.

The Plenary started with a very personal account of what patient safety means from Margaret Murphy, WHO, who began her advocacy work after the needless death of her 21 year old son through medical error.

Mike Rose, Johnson & Johnson then discussed why it is important to look at patient safety, and that every patient has the right to receive genuine products. J&J believes that the GS1 standards are critical to ensuring they deliver genuine products to their patients.

John Cotter of St. James Hospital, Ireland, brought a different perspective as he discussed implementing traceability in healthcare. Not only does it bring patient safety, but also operational efficiency and the ability for patient level cost analytics. John stated that “The benefits are obvious, and there are benefits for every stakeholder. We just need to get on with it.”

Dr. Andras Sule, European Association of Hospital Pharmacists discussed the importance to have single unit identification and traceability to help prevent error at the patient bedside. He explained the chicken and egg problem of bedside scanning: with hospitals waiting for single unit barcodes to be applied to products before they start scanning, and suppliers waiting for hospitals to have processes and scanners in place before they apply single unit barcodes more widely to their products. The Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) will increase the scanning capabilities of hospitals significantly.

We then heard a case study from Operating Room Nurse Hennie Mulder, Maxima Medical Centre comparing the past manual way of checking stock of medical devices, in comparison to how all materials are now registered in stock by scanning the barcodes – eliminating errors and ensuring patient safety.

Lastly, we heard from the panel of experts on how every healthcare stakeholder relies on GS1 standards every day.

Stretching the GS1 boundaries, a new plenary

“We must fundamentally transform business using the power of technology, and go beyond the “product” mentality. IoT is about delivering an experience that needs to be fulfilled. We must invert from a product to an experience, and if you do not do it someone else will .” – Dr. Sanjay E. Sarma, Vice President of Open Learning at MIT

Wednesday included this forward-thinking plenary for the second year. It highlights how working together we can stretch the boundaries of GS1 and unlock potential for savings and efficiencies. The plenary featured exciting stories of how we can diversify GS1’s portfolio.

First, we heard from Sanjay Sarma. He stated that the Internet of Things (IoT) is not really a technology, platform or system – but is actually a new design language to reimagine everything we take for granted. The question for GS1 is how do we use this new language to design for an experience rather than a product. In the past companies found success with a product-first orientation, however today companies need to abandon this thinking. They need to reimagine fulfilling a need which consumers have and to invert from products to experiences. Companies will need to fundamentally transforming their business using the power of technology. Sanjay concluded by explaining IoT is:

  1. Competition: not just about connectivity.
  2. Intelligence: it is also the intelligence of things
  3. Recruitment: creating an ecosystem of things/devices.
  4. Immersion: when experiences follow you

Second, we heard a financial sector update from Stephan Wolf, the CEO of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF). He explained why identity is so important today, beyond the identity of people and products, and how LEI, together with the other services GS1, will make a significant impact. He spoke about how the GS1 Global Office is offering a service that MOs can implement locally, without having to undertake the whole investment.

Additionally, Stephan moderated a panel of 3 Member Organisation CEOs, talking about the early days of running an LEI service in their countries, providing trusted services and open, reliable data for unique legal entity identification worldwide.

The GS1 Global Forum 2018 comes to a close

“The digital world is moving so fast that we need keep pace. But GS1 is an amazing organisation, and with the passion we have when we align to fix an issue it will be done.. Nothing will be impossible for GS1.”Miguel Lopera, GS1, President & CEO

At the GS1 Forum this year we learned and shared our best practices with multiple business cases from MOs and users. At the Closing Plenary we heard from Miguel Lopera, who shared insights from the GS1 Executive Committee of the Board.

Key topics included GS1 Cloud and GS1 Activate, as well as updates on the Big Picture implementation, the Global Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) Service, and the GS1 Uniform Resource Identifier (RUI) Structure.

To move forward, GS1 must change and we must set the base for the future. Our priorities for 2017-2018 include:

  • Sectors– including Retail/Omni-channel, Healthcare, Technical Industries and Transport & Logistics.
  • Standards – GS1 UniqueID, Traceability GTS2 and Global Model Number (BUDI-DI).
  • Services – GS1 Global Data Services, (GS1 Cloud, GDSN Simplification) and GS1 Global LEI Service.
  • Solutions – Traceability/Sustainability and Fighting Illicit Trade/Anti-Counterfeit
  • Innovation – Consumer Internet of Things and Blockchain
  • Organisation – Big Picture Implementation

Miguel presented a special thank you to Bernie Hogan, SVP, Standards development, GS1 US who will be retiring this Spring. He was presented with a portrait made of 1,300 photographs of GS1 people who have been working with Bernie over the years.

Thursday was also a very special Closing Plenary with TED-style talks by two extraordinary individuals from our MO community. Both speakers presented their compelling perspectives on the challenge for change and what the GS1 Big Picture means to them personally.

First, Rami Habbal explained how GS1 United Arab Emirates now feels that they belong to a bigger family, and that today they have a voice – making them truly local and global. He emphasised how the GS1 Cloud will offer much more than what we currently have, and the power of working together as one interconnected organisation.

Then we heard from Siobhain Duggan from GS1 Ireland, who emphasised that to have wide spread adoption of GS1 standards we must engage with and listen to our members, and that we must trust that the dots will connect. This is the vision of the GS1 Big Picture.

Miguel Lopera, closed the 2018 Forum by sharing the key takeaways. He emphasised that the theme of this year was data quality, and that without data quality we will not be able to play in the digital world. He also spoke about how GS1 is in the middle of a transformation, as we move from strategy to action with the Big Picture.

He encouraged attendees to take action when they are back at their MOs, including:

  • Ensuring uploading all GTINs to the GS1 Cloud.
  • Sending all GCPs.
  • Planning for connecting to the GS1 Cloud and for the GS1 Activate Service.
  • Researching if GS1 LEI Service is an opportunity in their countries.
  • Think about how the Big Picture will impact their organisations.
  • Continue to work as one interdependent organisation.
  • Drive awareness of the benefits of an inclusive organisation.
  • Have a 3-5 year financial plan in place.