LJNDawson.com, Consulting to the Book Publishing Industry
Book Publishing Industry Consultant

The Wonderful World of Bar Codes

It's not only ISBN-13 that's throwing retailers into a tizzy. On a larger scale, it's the move from the UPC to the EAN - from tracking things at an SKU or pallet level to tracking them on an item level.

This means not simply the scanners picking up the new bar code, but subscribing to data pools on the back end so that the bar codes actually match up to something.

The purported reason for the transition (and there is always a purported reason, for easy explanation to those who otherwise wouldn't care) is so US retailing can join global commerce (the rest of the world, with the possible exception of Ireland, operates on the EAN). And there is a great deal of truth to this as well - from Asian students ordering engineering textbooks from Amazon to exporting Nikes to South Africa.

But it actually also means dealing with products on an individual level, tracking inventory more closely, streamlining orders...and saving bucketloads of money.

But meanwhile, the US consumer-goods supply chain is facing a heck of a gap between where it is now, and where it will need to be in 2007, when suddenly there are no more UPCs being issued and all you can get is EANs.

In other news...the goddessly Tess tells me that a friend of hers was fired from Wells Fargo for his
. As usual, management generally takes a while to catch up to things - blogs are clearly not going away, so the best practice is usually to design some human-resource policy to account for it. However, many companies are simply doing the draconian - surgically excising the blogger in question.

Your smartest employees are probably the blogging employees - those with something to say, who are actually thinking about their work and taking the time to write about it - and rather than punting them out of your company (and possibly into the arms of your competitors), constructing a policy to handle blogs is probably a lot more enlightened.

But as the CFO from one company I used to work for once scolded me, "This enlightened management shit is just...shit. It pisses me off. You come to work, you do your job. End of story."

Right. ;)
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