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Use Your EPC to Indicate Country of Origin

By employing a simple coding scheme, you can quickly identify where items in your supply chain were manufactured, and ensure that your customs declarations are accurate.
By Doug Harvel

When encoding the specific country in which an item was manufactured, it is best to use the UN numeric code (ISO 3166-1 numeric-3), as well as the Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS PUB 10-4 code) for nations, dependencies and other areas.

For example, when encoding the EPC for a product made in Vietnam, you can use that country's UN/ISO numeric code: 704. So the start of the serial number for a product made in Vietnam with an internally encoded EPC would be 0704. The serial number is combined with each EPC.

This gives you the possibility of producing 99,999,999 of the same item before repeating a serial number at each location where it is produced. Your items, encoded internally, would increase incrementally from 070,400,000,001 to 070,499,999,999.

So now you have built COO encoding into your serialization scheme. When a tagged product is about to be shipped from the manufacturing facility, an RFID reader can interrogate the EPC tag on that item's carton as it is being shipped internationally, and correctly update the order detail to make sure the COO data for all of your commercial invoices are correct, and that they match what is actually being shipped.

Doug Harvel is an IT supply chain and RFID consultant, a former co-chair of the GS1 Serialization Team and the former IT project leader at a global apparel company. If you have additional questions or comments, you can reach him at Doug.Harvel@gmail.com.

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