LANSA Unveils Free Mobile App to Audit GS1 Product Data
June 18, 2013 Alex Woodie
Ensuring that real-life products in the consumer goods supply chain match their digital GS1 records can be a time-consuming and error-prone job. To speed up the task of executing data quality audits, LANSA last week unveiled DQ Inspector, a free mobile iOS app that streamlines the work of recording physical attributes of goods and verifying that they match GS1 records.
The GS1 organization is dedicated to helping businesses and consumers by driving standards into processes. In the consumer goods supply chain, the organization sets standards over the use of Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) and the synchronization of related product data through the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN). By automating the exchange of product data, the use of these standards can cut billions of dollars of waste from supply chains.
However, the process of ensuring accuracy of product data is not always as automated. In fact, according to LANSA, a certified GS1 solution partner, the paper-and-pencil methods used to ensure that products sitting on pallets have the proper weights, dimensions, colors, and other attributes can be quite prone to error.
The high margin for error of data quality audits led the company to create the DQ Inspector. Installed on an iPhone or iPad, DQ Inspector can capture product attribute information as defined in the GS1 Data Quality Framework (DQF), including overall item accuracy, generic attribute accuracy, dimension and weight accuracy, and hierarchy accuracy.
The software works by guiding the user through screens where they are asked to enter DQF-related information, such as the number of products on a pallet, the weight of goods, or the presentation of goods on the shelf in a retail outlet. Some of the information requires the inspector to use his own eyes and brain to get a quantifiable answer. For others, such as barcode scanning, the app can link to Bluetooth-compatible devices. Other external measuring devices, such as scales or calipers, may require Bluetooth-enabling the RS 232 serial ports, which is a process that LANSA can help with.
DQ Inspector has embedded communication systems to help with the workflow. They can hook directly to IBM i, Windows, and Linux servers. To get started, a user imports a DQF-validated product inspection set in CSV format, from either a file or email server. The app then takes that information and uses it to build the screens that are used with the actual inspection.
The software can output the results of an inspection in the same methods as they are input, including uploading them directly to the file server or sending an email. The results can be analyzed in Excel, or viewed in a dedicated product information system or a business intelligence system. Later this year, LANSA plans to launch a product called DQ Reporter that will accept the output from DQ Inspector.
The folks at GS1 are thrilled to have DQ Inspector available to their members. “Making a tool like LANSA’s DQ Inspector available to our members will directly contribute to our data quality goals, and we are thrilled to see such innovation coming from one of our certified Solution Partners,” Mark Widman, director of GDSN and data quality at the GS1 Global Office in the UK, stated in a press release.
LANSA says DQ Inspector, which is freely available from the Apple App Store, will be used by manufacturers, brand owners, retailers, wholesalers, and other service providers across the consumer packaged goods industry. The company also recently unveiled a new release of LANSA Data Sync Direct, which we will cover in a future issue of this newsletter.