The practice of marking shoes. Software solutions
04.09.2019 10369

The practice of marking shoes. Software solutions

Alfasens has developed a unique software solution on the 1С platform, which, coupled with a mobile application, allows marking shoes in the framework of the system implemented by the operator of the central distribution center today. What is the uniqueness of this solution and its importance for market participants says the company's commercial director Alfacence Olga Markina.

Olga Markina Olga Markina - Commercial Director of Alfasens

1 July 2019 year in Russia launched a project for digital labeling of shoes. According to the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 5 of July 2019 of July 860, the “Rules for the labeling of shoe goods” were approved, which were the first official document that regulates in detail the process of marking shoes for market participants. Prior to this, there were the MDGT Methodological Recommendations developed in the bowels of the labeling operator with the participation of the Shoe Union working group (NOBS WG), and also a lot of technical documents and instructions governing data exchange and interaction with the MDGs. “Rules” provide detailed information on the composition of market participants and their requirements, regulate the procedure for their registration in the GIS MT and the procedure for information exchange with the GIS MT. They also describe the procedure for registering shoe goods in the GIS MT, describe the labeling code, the aggregation code and the aggregated customs code (ATC) for the FCS, as well as their composition and the procedure for their formation. In addition, the Rules establish the procedure for applying marking codes, the procedure for exchanging data with MT GIS, including the withdrawal of marking codes from circulation, as well as the procedure for amending the information contained in MT GIS.

Of course, this document is extremely important for the market and eliminates a lot of speculation and rumor, which was enveloped in digital marking. However, at the same time, there remained a lot of questions that market participants often ask at all kinds of conferences, and even project participants from the very beginning sometimes find it difficult to give clear answers to these questions. In my opinion, one of the pressing issues is not a theoretical one, but the most practical one, namely - does the MDTC provide tools for working with marking and what kind of tools it is. We are talking about software solutions ("software"), but not only. In addition to software solutions, it is equally important to have tools for working with marking codes in factories, warehouses and stores, specifically data collection terminals (common scanners) and mobile applications for them. All this, the labeling operator does not provide, but sends to its website, which lists the MDG partners and lists of tested solutions. Let me say that if the first list is difficult to have a claim, the second list looks at least strange. I personally know some of the so-called “tested solutions” and I can assure that the fact of “testing”, unfortunately, does not mean that they can be used here and now. However, it is worth noting that the developers themselves are not always guilty of this - the MDCT has not yet completed the formation of all business processes in its own system (GIS MT). Of course, it is easy to criticize, and it is much more difficult to establish a marking system nationwide. Nevertheless, it remains unclear why then it was necessary to announce the start of shoe marking in Russia, if the system was still very far from debugging. For example, only in June a new release of the system was released, in which, finally, the functionality for entering marking codes into circulation began to work. Until now, although it has been implemented, it is not widely used by market participants to transfer marking codes from seller to buyer. The same applies to the withdrawal of marking codes from circulation, returns, adjustments and much more ...

Of particular note is the expected labeling of residues by all. In general, the mechanism is understandable, but there are still no regulatory acts. There are also no answers to a number of questions, for example, on the format of the code, time limits, number limits and requirements for documents for balances, although according to the results of the discussion in the NLB WG there is a certain understanding in these issues.

All this makes it impossible to create complete and complete software solutions for marking shoes. The leader in creating ERP systems in Russia, the company 1С, has also not yet implemented a marking unit. A new release is expected at the end of September, but there is great doubt that 1C software solutions can be immediately integrated into existing systems. The problem is that the 1С solution will most likely be standard, that is, it will implement some averaged and simplest labeling algorithms. Most likely, this solution will suit market participants with small volumes, for example, shops. However, the market in Russia is represented not only by stores.

Consider, for example, a typical importer, a company importing from 50 to 200 thousand pairs a season from China. First of all, the labeling software solution should be adapted to the business processes of our importer in China. A company may have 2-3 partner factories, or it may have 100 factories. In the first case, it makes sense to send goods directly from a Chinese factory to the Russian Federation, in the second - through a consolidation warehouse. These are different business processes - different ways of applying codes (inside the label and outside the label), different ways of generating reports by scanning data collection terminals (TSD), since it is obviously expensive to buy 100 TSD with a pre-installed mobile application, not to mention the learning process of these factories in the procedure scan. Factories in China are very different - from modern workshops with marble floors to a dedicated piece of land under a canopy from rain and the scorching sun. It should also be noted that 1С only provides the ability to connect the TSD, but the software product itself is missing. Further, in the Russian Federation we see the same problems - accounting of codes, scanning should be “understandable” to the typical 1С system. I repeat, this is possible only for small market participants using standard solutions. All other companies that have implemented numerous developments in their systems, having their own configurations and directories, will be forced to somehow modify the existing release (if they dare to install it) on their own, if they have the staff of 1-programmers, or by third-party organizations accredited company 1С.

Considering that keeping records of marking codes in Excel will not work, at least because of the lack of integration with GS1 and MT GIS, as well as for a number of other reasons, the following dilemma arises for market participants:

  • or they find and buy existing software to solve their problems;
  • or they outsource the labeling of their products.

Both ways are “workers”, but both are fraught with a number of pitfalls. Let's take a closer look.

Currently, more and more companies are appearing on the market, offering software solutions for “turnkey marking” and claiming that their software really works and allows you to do everything that is provided for by marking. This, of course, is not true for the reasons stated above. The maximum that an IT company can offer to the market in terms of labeling is a software solution that implements everything that is currently implemented in the GIS MT and described in the standard documents of the MDCT, first of all, integration with the GIS MT. The main problem here is the possible isolation of the solution from real life. Imagine a programming specialist. He doesn’t know how the processes of production, purchase and sale of shoes occur. And simple consultations of those who know may not help here, simply because it is better to see once than hear a hundred times. Most likely, no IT specialist in the field of development of software solutions for marking shoes has not seen a Chinese factory and, therefore, will not be able to assess, for example, the likelihood of errors when scanning labeling codes by a packer in a factory. The simple question is whether the packer is a higher paid worker or less paid in comparison with the conveyor workers, confuses even experienced shoe makers. But the question is far from idle - the choice of a method of compiling a shipment report may depend on the degree of qualification of the packer! Another question is whether it is possible to replace the scanning of marking codes with photographing them. And if you simply rewrite the codes for marking boxes in the format “article + box number”? All these are not as simple questions as it seems, and an attempt to answer them without practical knowledge in this area can lead to serious miscalculations.

In my opinion, a prerequisite for creating software is the cooperation of the developer company with a specific shoe company, while the cooperation is not in the form of a “question-answer”, but a real immersion of at least one IT specialist in all the details of the shoe business. But this may not be enough, since one company has business processes organized in one way, and another - in another. An example - different ways of applying marking codes in factories. In some companies it is more convenient to apply them by scanning the GTIN and printing the marking codes in place using a mobile printer and immediately putting them on the boxes with the goods. For others, it can be printing labels with a marking code inside and applying it to shoes on a conveyor, followed by scanning, generating an aggregation code and drawing up a report. Thirdly, it can be the formation of a database of marking codes with aggregation codes in advance so that before closing the box with the pairs of shoes with labels placed in advance according to the “size”, the packer at the factory is given a sheet of A4 format with marking codes separately from the labels. In this case, the packer is left to unstick the desired marking code according to size and stick it on the box of the appropriate size in the box. Scanning in order to generate an aggregation code is not required in this case.

All these are concrete examples, confirming the need for the closest cooperation of a company that claims to create a software solution with a company that is the final consumer of such a software solution. Our company Alphasens (Alphasens Marking Solutions) combines the achievements of several companies - participants of the pilot labeling project and the experience in creating software solutions for companies accredited by 1С. The result of such cooperation was a unique software solution on the 1С platform, which, together with a mobile application, allows marking shoes now in the volume that is currently implemented by the MDCS itself (see above). Description of this software solution is presented on our website. Alfacence. I will add that this is not an experimental, but a real-life solution, implemented in two versions, local and cloud. Both options are already being actively tested by the shoe market participants. Of course, software solutions are accompanied by their installation with the departure of our specialists (or remotely) and subsequent technical support, including online support.

And yet it seems to me that outsourcing of shoe products will be in great demand. What is the reason for this? First of all, with the difficulties of work leading to increased costs. Alfasens cloud-based software solution is inexpensive, from 5 to 10 thousand rubles per month of a monthly fee, but no program can work by itself. At a minimum, she needs an operator. Further, the importer needs someone who will coordinate the work of the customs department with the program (creating an aggregated customs code (ATC), entering marking codes into circulation), someone who will be involved in accounting for the goods shipped and the work of EDI. A wholesaler needs someone who can handle the flow of invoices. It’s easier for stores, they can get by scanning the goods at the reception, the rest will be done for them by an online cash register with new functionality. Nevertheless, it is clear that the installation of the program is indispensable and the larger the volumes, the more staff will be involved exclusively in this area of ​​the company’s activities.

Alfasens thought about this and formed a proposal for the market for labeling services. Labeling consists of numerous subprocesses, and service packages can be added as a puzzle, choosing only what a specific company needs at the moment. For stores, for example, there is a minimum package that includes entering information into the MT GIS and marking the residues. For importers and / or manufacturers this can be a complete turnkey package, which implies the transfer of an electronic digital signature (EDS) from the customer to the contractor, after which the customer can only control the marking processes at his discretion. The customer forms an individual package independently, choosing the services he needs. The only inconvenience of this system may be related to database security, but this inconvenience is easily overcome by drawing up an appropriate confidentiality agreement with appropriate sanctions.

Labeling services are inseparable from logistics, therefore a logistics service is also included in the package. However, it should be noted that logistics is not a core business of Alfasens, so labeling can be ordered separately. This does not mean inflated prices for logistics, but it takes into account that many companies already have delivery through their counterparties and, most importantly, their importers. Alfasens takes this into account and is ready to work with the importer of the customer. As already noted, for this it is enough for the customer to transfer his digital signature to the contractor. In the case of delivery to the importer of Alfasens, this is not necessary, the company will do everything for the customer.

In conclusion, I want to note that an important condition for choosing a partner in the market for labeling services is undoubtedly experience in the market and experience in providing these same services. Alfasens was established in 2011. Our partners are existing shoe companies, participants in the pilot project from the very beginning. This is a guarantee that our experience is definitely no less than anyone else, and this despite the fact that a huge number of participants in the shoe market do not understand where to start. It seems to us that in addition to the business as such, we also help small companies enter the labeling at a minimal cost. I personally know store owners who don’t understand how to work in the new conditions and are seriously considering options for reducing or even closing a business. There may be different points of view on the economic model in Russia, there are supporters of state monopoly stuck in the USSR, and there are those who sincerely believe that the main business in Russia is oil, gas and weapons, and the rest, if they close, is not a big deal. . Fortunately, the President’s economic team is as strong as ever and does not share these sentiments. We also believe that China, France, Germany and other economically successful countries with strong small and medium-sized businesses, of course, signal us that such a business must be supported by all means. This is what we think of when we put ourselves in the place of a conditional store owner trying to understand how he works with labeling, and we have solutions for him that we will gladly share with him!

Alfasens company has developed a unique software solution on the 1С platform, which, coupled with a mobile application, allows marking shoes within the framework of the ...
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