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Eco-Transparency: Paperless Document Generation Capturing EAN

We have all studied the concepts and the evolution of a "Learning Organization". But gone are the days when one could survive and excel by merely learning. Organizations are progressively operating in an era of setting emulatable examples for others, thereby being a "Teaching Organization". Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and distributors these days are increasingly laying more and more emphasis on the social responsibility, working towards a greener supply chain. Organizations have realized that they have Community and Environment as their major stakeholders. Therefore the excellence each organization is aspiring for is truly the green supply chain they are ingrained in. It is important to be profitable and at the same time remain sustainable. This is to be practiced by the pioneer and emulated by the other industry players.

Let us draw our attention to the usage of a key piece of information that is all pervasive in the retail industry. Classically known EAN-13 barcode, which was also originally known as European Article Number, is a 13 digit barcoding standard. It is a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC) system. The EAN-13 barcode is defined by the standards organization GS1. It is now also known as International Article Number even though the abbreviation EAN has been retained. The EAN-13 barcodes are used worldwide for marking products often sold at retail point of sale. The numbers encoded in EAN-13 bar codes are product identification numbers. These are also popularly known as Japanese Article Number (JAN) in Japan. All the numbers encoded in UPC and EAN barcodes are known as Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN), and they can be encoded in other GS1 barcodes.

In digital office and printing industry European Article number (EAN) is also construed as the electronic address which is used for EDI delivery of Invoices. There can be one/multiple EAN number(s) on the Customer Invoices. As we all know Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the structured transmission of data between one trading partners to another trading partner without human intervention. There could be business situations wherein the customer account bill to address level holds the EDI EAN for Group Company and then the group company routes it to EAN for sub-companies held at ship to level, upon invoice receipt.

Other related requirements could be display Ship to EAN or Bill to EAN or Both to be displayed on the EDI delivery of Invoices. So in Toto, EAN constitutes a key piece of information needed by the end customer to deliver the invoice to the correct end location.
Organizations these days are striving to use many paperless platforms for electronic documentation. Transaction processing is performed in the ERP systems that result in XML templates. These templates are in-turn picked for electronic document generation in an electronic archival system via paperless document generation platform, thereby eliminating any paper based invoice generation.

One of the key technology focus areas in Green Supply Chain Management that enables an organization to transition into a sustainable organization is Supply Chain Network.  Output document generation also goes hand in hand with this. It is true beyond doubt that a responsive supply chain is also a responsible supply chain, it is more environmentally and socially responsible. Not only is it plausible, it is also more financially viable resulting in a higher sustainment quotient as well as higher benefit factor. Supply Chain Network and Output document generation can lead to reductions greenhouse gas emissions. Organizations need to look at the process and operational best practices to improve upon their sustainment quotient. The higher the quotient, the greener the supply chain and hence the greener the dividend pastures as mentioned earlier. After all it is key to indulge in "Learning-Teaching-Learning" cycles for the Greener Tomorrow.



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