PMA Facilitates Transition to Company-specific UPCs

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PMA Facilitates Transition to Company-specific UPCs


Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is releasing a new toolkit to help the industry better respond to the gradual transition to company-specific universal product codes (UPC). The transition is designed to improve category management while also enhancing traceability and business efficiencies.

Currently, UPC numbers begin with a generic, PMA-assigned prefix, followed by an item reference number and check digit to identify packaged produce. It is expected that retailers will begin to require a more specific UPC where the prefix is assigned by GS1 US, a global standards organization for multiple industries. The specific UPC will identify the item and the company of origin, enabling retailers to differentiate between different brands of product in the same category. As a result, retailers are able to determine sell-through and shrink data by brand. PMA is developing a UPC migration tool that will be available June 1 to help guide industry during the transition.

Questions about why and how this transition will take place will be answered in a webinar hosted by PMA and GS1, “Transitioning from Generic UPC to Brand Owner UPC in Produce” on Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. EST. The topic will also be addressed on June 13 during the GS1 Connect 2013 conference, where PMA’s Christina D’Allacco, manager of science and technology in supply chain efficiencies, will share the benefits of unique product identification.

As part of PMA’s work in developing data standards, there are several other tools available to the industry including Databar Online. This tool, initially implemented in 2009, was created to allow distributers to communicate their item numbers to buyers, and allow buyers to download the information into their point-of-sale systems for loose and bulk items.

Recently undergoing several improvements, Databar Online now delivers a more user-friendly experience, including a streamlined registration process and the ability to easily update records. Databar Online is currently available to the industry at large. An instructional eLearning course will be available on May 15 online.

Produce Marketing Association is the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain.