a new landscape
Helping members adapt to a new business reality
My first full year as chair of GS1 UK has coincided with the most turbulent nine months in the recent history of our country.
The coronavirus pandemic has touched all
of the sectors we interface with as an organisation, from sole traders to the
high-street giants and hospital trusts.
Although our analysis has shown that half
of businesses have had to furlough staff, there are reasons to be optimistic: 65 per cent have said they are confident that their businesses can successfully negotiate the pandemic, and almost half have seen an increase in demand for their products.
In line with the changing times, we have seen a significant movement in the number of members looking to sell online, with 76 per cent of this year’s new joiners stating they were looking to trade specifically through their own website or on online marketplaces.
We commissioned YouGov research this year to help us understand key societal trends. Our resulting report on The Importance of traceability in an increasingly transparent world, links the crucial role of standards to the safety and visibility of products throughout the
supply chain. This transparency is increasingly important in our new contact-free, online purchasing reality.
In the healthcare world, our GS1 standards-centred Scan4Safety initiative has proven that point-of-care barcode scanning saves thousands of lives and millions of pounds for the NHS, providing reassurance and operational efficiency during an unparalleled time of crisis in its 72-year history.
"Transparency is increasingly important in our new contact-free,
online purchasing reality."
With the EU transition promising further uncertainty as we approach the end of this year, we will ensure our members have the access to the support they need in a radically changing business environment.
The last year has also been a year of change for GS1 UK, with our first new chief executive in 16 years. After Gary Lynch announced his decision to retire at the end of 2020, we entered into an open process to recruit a new CEO. We made an excellent find in Anne Godfrey, who comes to us with an exemplary track record of leading membership organisations, most recently the Institute of Environmental Health.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Gary Lynch as he steps down as CEO of GS1 UK after 16 years leading the organisation. The team and I wish him the best for his retirement, and express our gratitude for taking the organisation to new heights during his tenure.
Growing in testing times
Despite the onset of the global pandemic, we have seen continued growth in the past year:
What our membership tells us
As they represent a cross section of UK plc, fluctuations in our membership show us the health of industry sectors and where the pandemic has had an effect on the things we do and purchases we make. Roll over the boxes below to tell
Meet our members
Over the past year, we’ve reached out to the member companies that make us so unique, to find out what makes them tick
and their experiences with GS1 UK.
We sat down with GS1 UK member and founder of Jecca Blac, Jessica Blackler,
to discuss how she started the business, what a typical day looks like and what the company's future plans are.
We are proud to be making a difference for our members across UK plc. We’ve asked our heads of sector to summarise their highlights of 2019–20 and the past year’s achievements.
After proudly supporting The Silver Line from 2016,
this year, GS1 UK has begun a new charity partnership with The Honeypot Children's Charity, an organisation that offers respite breaks and outreach support to young carers, many of whom would otherwise have nowhere to turn.
The Honeypot Children's Charity is the only charity in the UK offering consistent support to young carers throughout their childhood, from the age of five until the age of 12.
Our new corporate charity
In 2020, we released two reports outlining GS1 UK’s role in key areas of the retail and healthcare sectors.
A farewell from our CEO
As I look back over my 26 years at GS1 UK, 16 of which I have spent as its CEO, it’s amazing how much the world around us has changed.
In a quarter of a century we’ve seen the transition from an analogue to digital, and the internet has changed everything from business transactions to the way we communicate with our friends and family.
I never would have thought that my last year in post would be one of my most challenging. I take so much energy from the GS1 UK family that has grown over the years to become a diverse and talented team.
We have had to rebuild the operation to ensure we can all work effectively and safely in the new world order, with video conferencing replacing my kitchen conversations and working from home becoming the norm. The team have adapted well, but I am disappointed I will not get the opportunity to see you, or them, face to face before I retire at the end of the year.
As I hand over the reins to our new CEO, Anne Godfrey, the events of 2020 have seen a decade’s worth of change in just a few months. I'm pleased to say that
GS1 UK’s services and standards are front and centre when it comes to tackling the challenges of this brave new world.
"The events of 2020 have seen a decade’s worth of change in just a few months."
Our membership has gone ever upwards during the pandemic, as we see the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit come to the fore, and businesses evolve at pace to keep trading.
Our productDNA data-sharing platform has seen a rise in adoption since the onset of lockdown and our productDNA advisory group will shape the future of the platform in the wake of a new retail world.
GS1 standards in healthcare go from strength to strength with the success of the Scan4Safety programme, and the
Cumberledge review into implantable
devices has recommended a centralised database in which GS1 identifiers will play a crucial role.
With a seismic shift to shopping online, GS1 standards will become more important than ever, enabling shoppers to have all the information they need at their fingertips when they are making purchasing decisions, all founded on a bedrock of trusted data.
As if the year weren't challenging enough, there is also the possibility of a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020. I’m reassured that the standards that have been making the supply chain work for more than 45 years will be one of the things that business can rely to work seamlessly and across borders.
I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved at GS1 UK, and I know that, by focusing on the needs of our members, we will thrive. I look forward to my retirement knowing that the organisation I love will continue to strive for excellence under Anne Godfrey’s leadership.