Rail Supply, Technology and IT

ARA issues ‘Call to Action’ to adopt GS1 identification standards

Wagons without bogies at the Bradken commissioning site at Kwinana, WA. Photo: Bradken

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and GS1 Australia have recently confirmed their support for the adoption of GS1 global standards for marking — barcoding and tagging — components used across Australia’s rail industry.

The ARA board’s decision to back the implementation comes after the industry-wide Parts and Components Identification Project that began in 2015, and the launch by ARA and GS1 Australia of the Implementation Guideline for the Effective Management of Inventory in the Australian Rail Industry at AusRAIL 2016 conference.

The decision to support the adoption of common standards was hailed by ARA CEO Danny Broad as a significant milestone, who urged the rail industry to join him in a “Call to Action” to take up GS1 standards and thus “reduce costs, improve safety, reliability and quality.”

“The adoption of GS1 standards will provide a common framework to support the current challenge of managing efficient maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) processes,” Broad said.

The Call to Action initiative seeks to achieve the implementation of GS1 standards across the rail industry in Australia by the beginning of 2019.

“A level of effort will be required for the implementation of these standards as many rail operators, suppliers, manufacturers and contractors are at various stages of barcoding their products, with some rail organisations already well advanced and actively working with their suppliers,” Maria Palazzolo, executive director CEO at GS1 Australia said.

According to the ARA and GS1, standardisation of barcoding and tagging will set the foundation for automated processes and bring about industry-wide efficiencies, including reduced inventory waste, better maintenance and repair operations, improved traceability, and reduced costs due to fewer transaction errors and higher quality data — measures they believe will boost the rail industry’s overall competitiveness and profitability.