One administrator will now develop and oversee world supply chain standards HONG KONG ARTICLE Numbering Association (HKANA) has been rebranded as GS1 Hong Kong to continue its role in enhancing the standards and practices for supply chain services. GS1 Hong Kong is the local chapter of GS1, the global developer and administrator of supply chain standards formed after the merger of EAN International and the United States-based Uniform Code Council (UCC) last year. GS1 is a global brand involving more than one million corporate members in 155 countries and economies. Chief executive Anna Lin said the merger created synergy in facilitating worldwide supply chain development under a single management leadership. 'With that [the merger], we can more effectively promote the adoption of world-class supply chain standards that we want to drive - such as Electronic Product Code [EPC] and Global Data Synchronisation [GDS] - making them the global language of business,' she said. The HKANA was originally founded as a modest local barcode numbering association in 1989 by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. It has been proactively assisting the local business community to introduce universally recognised standards and apply latest technologies to better manage their supply chains. Glenn Smith, chairman of GS1 Hong Kong, said the organisation was well respected for its achievements over the years and led the development of supply chain management in Asia. More efforts have been concentrated in recent years on encouraging collaboration between enterprises and their trading partners, including suppliers and customers, to increase supply chain efficiency. 'As technology becomes more advanced, the more we can do to enhance the global supply chain, bring our trading partners closer together, and exchange information more easily. There have been huge steps taken, but it is not an easy task or an easy road,' he said. The merger is a significant development because now there is collaboration and cooperation rather than competition. 'Because of the merger and rebranding, the effort going into making the supply chain more efficient and the expected results will move up to a higher level in the future. That means one organisation worldwide can lead these developments and create global standards. Simultaneously, it can promote these technology developments and its various initiatives through its member organisations in many countries,' he said. GS1 Hong Kong's rebranding has been timed to coincide with the EPCglobal Hong Kong RFID Conference and road shows which will run from tomorrow to Friday in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Ms Lin said GS1 Hong Kong would strive to help the local business community to more effectively adopt supply chain management and benefit from improved efficiency. She said it was determined to become a valuable service partner to local industries and would endeavour to raise awareness of its existing projects and other support and consultancy services. Promoting the adoption of EPC and GDS was also at the top of the agenda since the emerging technologies were the 'hottest'' issues in modern supply chain management, said Ms Lin. Since its launch early last year, the EPC initiative has attracted a lot of interest from industries and companies worldwide. The GDS project allows companies to share product and company information more easily through a central data pool. 'We will seek to facilitate local industries to know more and try the new standards and technologies which have a far-reaching impact on supply chain operational efficiency,' she said. In addition, continuous research will be conducted to promote supply chain management application and best practices in specific industries such as fast moving consumer goods, health care and pharmaceutical, apparel and textiles, and logistics. Mr Smith said: 'We will continue to use technology and the internet to make it easier for companies to communicate and exchange data, and to make business more accurate, more efficient and more cost effective.' The organisation is keen to play a role in fostering better supply chain collaboration between Hong Kong and the mainland. 'Hong Kong wants to be a logistic centre for China, particularly southern China,' Mr Smith said. 'We have to get better supply chain integration from manufacturers in China to their overseas customers, with Hong Kong acting as the logistic provider, and from overseas suppliers through Hong Kong to their Chinese customers.' He said the organisation would work together with the GS1 headquarters and GS1 partners in Asia to push forward its new initiatives, and the mainland would be an important partner with its huge consumer market and manufacturing base.