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4 Steps to Building the Ideal Product Identification System

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A product identification system can help your organization improve product traceability, enhance supply chain transparency, combat fraud, and protect business continuity. However, creating a product identification system can seem daunting, especially if you already have an extensive product lineup.

Fortunately, building out an ideal product identification system is easier than you might expect. To help you navigate this process, we have outlined 4 easy steps to create your own identification system.

Why Create a Product Identification System?

Before we focus on how you can create the system, let’s explore the reasons to create the system. By developing a structured mechanism for identifying your products, your business can:

Combat Fraud Metalphoto product identification label

Fraud is a major issue that impacts consumers and every member of the supply chain. According to a recent news report, consumers lost approximately $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021 alone — and that doesn’t include the billions lost to businesses.

A product identification system provides retailers and other supply chain members with a means of verifying the authenticity of your products. This setup is particularly important if you manufacture high-value goods like electronics or luxury apparel.

Improve Traceability

In addition to helping you fight fraud, a product identification system will improve supply chain traceability. By tracking products as they move through the links of the supply chain, you can gain valuable business insights that will help you operate more efficiently. In turn, this can improve profitability and allow you to better serve your customers.

Enhance Supply Chain Transparency

Supply chain transparency benefits everyone, including your business partners. You can share data with manufacturers, shippers, distributors, and retailers to optimize your entire supply chain. Improving supply chain transparency will boost your resiliency against unexpected disruptions as well.

How to Create a Product Identification System

In order to build an ideal product identification system, you will need to:

1. Obtain a GS1 Prefix

GS1 is an international organization that has created a system of supply chain standards designed to streamline product information systems. The GS1 team partners with healthcare, transport, logistics, technical, and retail organizations.

All companies that adhere to GS1 standards are assigned a GS1 prefix. This prefix is a series of numbers listed before an item’s Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). If you prefer to partner with another entity, we recommend seeking an organization that creates standards for your industry.

2. Assign GTINs to Your Products

After you have a GS1 prefix, you can start assigning GTINs to your products. Each product in your lineup should be assigned a unique GTIN. GTIN data must be entered into GS1’s database, as well as your own record-keeping software.

3. Create Labels, Barcodes, or Serial Nameplates

Tags and labels for a product identification system

Once an item has been assigned a GTIN, you will need to place that number in a conspicuous location on your products. There are several ways in which you can affix GTINs to products. However, it is important that you select a method that is difficult to replicate so that fraudsters cannot easily alter, remove, or modify GTINs.

With that goal in mind, we recommend creating identification nameplates, panels, or other ID labels and affixing them to your products. If you are not sure which specific durable solution to implement, an experienced nameplate and panel manufacturer can help you find the ideal option for your product identification needs.

Such a partner can assist with every panel and nameplate design aspect, including selecting which materials to use and choosing a placement location. It can also help you decide what size and shape to make your custom panels so they do not interfere with product performance or aesthetics.

4. Implement Your System

The final step is to implement your system. While rolling out your new system across your entire product line simultaneously might be tempting, you may want to consider a more incremental approach. Doing so can minimize the chances of significant manufacturing delays and ensure business continuity.

Regardless of which approach you choose, you must have an experienced fabricator in your corner to help. Metalphoto of Cincinnati (MPC) has the knowledge and expertise to help you choose the best identification tags and labels for your applications. Contact us today to speak with a team member or request a quote online.

Questions about the article? Let us help!

Our sales engineers are experts in automatic asset tracking, tagging and identification,a nd can answer all your questions. Get in touch now.

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If you’re having trouble finding the ideal identification solution for your project or application, build it with Metalphoto of Cincinnati. Talk with our experienced sales engineers today.
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