Key development: Helping to form global networks for data sync and EPC/RFID.
What's next: Driving adoption in those areas while developing the expected UCCnet-Transora division.
Since its beginning in the early 1970s, GS1 US, Lawrenceville, N.J. -- which formally changed its name from the Uniform Code Council at its U Connect meeting in June -- has had a busy agenda. The standards organization spearheaded the development of the bar code into the ubiquitous symbol it is today, as well as having promoted other important standards initiatives like electronic data interchange (EDI) and UCCnet.
But GS1 US' growth in the recent past may be unparalleled in its history. On top of its traditional duties, GS1 US has become a key player in two major global initiatives impacting the food industry -- the development of the new Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) through its UCCnet subsidiary, and the commercialization of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) through its EPCglobal US division. Add to that other relatively new areas like RosettaNet, UNSPSC and eBusinessReady, which have taken GS1 US well beyond its roots in the food industry and made it a far-reaching organization serving 25 industries.
In the United States, the individual leading the charge on these fronts is Michael E. Di Yeso, a former Black & Decker executive who became president of GS1 US in January 2004 after serving as its executive vice president. He also retains his prior title of chief operating officer.
Di Yeso is not officially the top executive at GS1 US. That person is Miguel Lopera, chief executive officer of GS1 US and the parent organization, Brussels, Belgium-based GS1 (formerly EAN International). However, given Lopera's global responsibilities, Di Yeso has assumed the day-to-day leadership of GS1 US, the group with the most direct impact on U.S. retailers. He has thus replaced Lopera on this year's SN Power 50.
Di Yeso's efforts at managing GS1 US' old and new responsibilities get an endorsement from Alan L. Haberman, governor at large on the GS1 US board, himself a major figure in the development of the UPC bar code and the EPC.
"I have come to believe that only Mike's intelligence and astonishing commitment, often requiring that he test the limits of his physical and mental well-being, could have shepherded UCC through the rapid and transforming changes required to realize Tim Smucker's and the Board of Governors' expansive vision," Haberman said. "There is more to do, but Mike and his people will make it happen, will manage change, to the benefit of their ever-wider constituencies."
Di Yeso's biggest focus areas today are ones directly affecting food retailers -- data synchronization and EPC/RFID. "Both have moved from the idea stage to implementation," he told SN. "We're watching something historic that is going to transform business."
In food retailing, data synchronization has especially begun building momentum. "There are three to four times as many retailers in production today vs. a year ago," he said. Moreover, a global network, the GDSN, is in place, and companies are "well positioned" to leverage it, he noted.
Meanwhile, UCCnet, GS1 US' data synchronization arm, announced in May plans to merge with Transora, creating a more powerful data pool that Di Yeso sees driving further adoption.
EPCglobal US has also grown, especially since releasing the latest RFID standards, known as UHF Class 1 Generation 2, or Gen 2. In U.S. food retailing, most of the progress in RFID has been made by Wal-Mart and upcoming programs from Albertsons and Target, but Di Yeso said "there are a large number of unpublicized pilots in the [grocery] space." As more food retailers gain ROI with data synchronization, "I think we'll see more [RFID pilots] become public in the next year," he said.
Di Yeso said he believes that data synchronization and RFID will reach critical mass of adoption faster than the bar code did. "In data sync, the grocery industry is well on its way," he said.