- SMEs Urged to Strengthen Products Certification With Barcodes
Manufacturers of locally made products, especially in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector of the economy have been urged to strengthen the seals of quality on their products with bar codes marking. This is to enable the products not only to be locally competitive but to be able to play in the global markets.
In Nigeria, government bodies that issues marks of quality on products are Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food, Drugs Control and Administration (NAFDAC). While SON issues Nigeria Industrial Standard (NIS) MANCAP and SONCAP to players in the sector, NAFDAC is known for its Number on products that have met its certification requirements.
Mr. Babatunde Odunlami, CEO of GS1 Nigeria, a firm that issues bar codes on products in Nigeria, said this in an interview. He said beyond NIS and NAFDAC numbers, bar coding is needed to really put Nigerian products on the shelves of global chain stores the like of South Africa’s Shoprite, Wal-Mart, an American multinational retailing corporation that operates as a chain of department stores, and grocery stores and UK Tesco.
“There is need for Nigerian companies to add barcodes on their products. Take NAFDAC number for example, once you travel out of Nigeria, is it of any use? It is no longer useful.
It is only useful in this country, extremely useful in this country because it can save a lot of lives but once you cross this border to Benin Republic, it is of no use except if the Benin government comes up and says we trust the standard that NAFDAC is giving. Multinationals like Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, etc., are selling their products in the global landscape because they understand the need to have barcodes on their products,” Odunlami said.
He disclosed that the technology and everything that is needed for barcodes is available here and the knowledge is also here. “There are over 110 countries that we can liaise with and to a large extent, whatever is done by GS1 Nigeria has a global outlook because the supply chains that we work with always have a global impacts. It is not something that only works for Nigeria: it is something that works globally ad has advantage for Nigeria. So, we can end up with a situation whereby some specific requirements for Nigeria that also makes it very relevant to our local needs,” he said.
According to him, bar coding makes smooth entry into the global market place possible, adding that chain stores rely on bar codes for analysis of sales, for performance, product recalls, etc.
“Any company that has a GS1 barcode on his or her product can actually export. Your product can sit on the shelf of Wal-Mart, Tesco, Shoprite, and all this big retail chains, because you can’t even sell to them without barcodes.
With bar codes, you can list on Amazon. So, barcodes are important. Why are they important? It is a way to say that I am the one behind this product and I give this product 100 percent certification and assurance that whatever happen to it, traces it back to me.
People who do good business don’t hide; it is only those who counterfeit and produce things illegally that hide. If you are doing something good and making profit from it, you should be able to stand behind your product. That is the way I see the barcode keys; it is a way for brand owners to stand behind their products and say this is mine, if anything happen, you can trace it back to me through the supply chains,” he said.