AgGateway and the CRISTAL Product Traceability team of CropLife International are merging their bar code guidelines, also known as traceability standards, a move that will allow crop protection companies with global operations to enhance data exchange in managing product traceability, inventory control, regulatory compliance and quality control.
The important collaboration comes as traceability issues are increasingly important in global trade of crop protection products. However, to date there has not been a global harmonization of these standards, meaning that a company may need to set up its data exchange processes differently in different regions. A standard approach to bar coding and data exchange will not only greatly enhance product management, but also give increased confidence to agricultural retailers and growers.
"As we reviewed the AgGateway and CRISTAL bar code guidelines within AgGateway, it became obvious that the best way to address questions about differences between the standards was to merge the two into one," said Marcia Rhodus, Retail Business Solutions Specialist with Monsanto, and the working group leader for AgGateway's Automated Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) initiative. "The two groups have met and agreed on a high-level plan to complete the project."
AgGateway's AIDC group will begin by bringing the AgGateway bar code guidelines in line with the latest standards and guidelines of GS1, a global standards organization, as a means to integrate them with the CRISTAL standards and guidelines.
"Globally used GS1 Standards enable interoperability for full supply chain visibility across companies, various industry segments and even borders and continents," said Michele Southall, industry development director, GS1 US. "These developments in agriculture hold great promise for improved traceability across industry."
"Europe's complex logistics requirements in agribusiness have led CRISTAL to develop robust traceability resources, including bar code and identification standards," said Laurent Sebire, Global Discipline Packaging Technology Leader with Dow AgroSciences, and CRISTAL Chair. "We look forward to enriching our standards as required in a joint standard to meet North American requirements through our collaborative effort with AgGateway and GS1."
CRISTAL, which stands for "Communicate Reliable Information and Standards To Agricultural Logistics", is a project of CropLife International with the mission of establishing a global traceability standard for crop protection. The standard will be a critical enabler for a traceability initiative targeted at the French plant protection product market later this year led by the Agro EDI organization.
"Europe is rapidly advancing in several eBusiness areas, including traceability for agricultural inputs. Merging the related standards and guidelines into a single set will promote confidence that investments in one region can be leveraged in others, and is an important early objective for AgGateway Global Network," said Jim Wilson, AgGateway Global Network's Executive Vice President and Standards Director. "This is the first step in a global collaborative journey."