European trends such as the electronic signature, electronic invoice and electronic exchange of documents constitute an impetus for small and medium-sized enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina to initiate a digital transformation. Another confirmation that the importance of this topic has been recognised is also the ”Seventh Annual Conference GS1 BiH” that was supported by the project ”Innovation and Digitalisation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina/EU4DigitalSME” that is co-funded by the European Union and Federal Republic of Germany and implemented by GIZ. The conference was attended by more than 150 supply chain actors.
Representatives of producers, distributors, vendors and other participants became acquainted with the latest trends and opportunities in the industry through innovative presentations and interesting panel discussions. Key topics of the conference entitled ”50 Years of Transforming Tomorrow” focused on electronic business operations, consumer protection and transition to the 2D barcode.
In his introductory speech, Adi Turković, Head of GS1 (the Global Language of Business), spoke about the importance of the use of the barcode and stated that 50 years had passed since its introduction:
”We have already entered the next 50 years of the transformation of our future. Let us remember that in 2021, the process of migration to the 2D barcode was initiated and is supposed to be finalised by 2027. What lies ahead is the circular economy and the implementation of the Green Agenda. In these processes it is necessary to digitalise everything for the purpose of facilitating an exchange of data. A pre-requisite for the exchange are structured data. GS1 offers assistance in standardising and consolidating such data in compliance with the applicable standards, which facilitates their use and exchange. GS1 possesses the know-how needed to meet the requirements provided for by the Green Agenda”, pointed out Turković.
Alisa Hodžić, A Management System Development Specialist at the company BH Telecom, spoke about the importance of digitalisation of business processes and presented the pilot project eInvoice that this company is working on. She pointed out the advantages of introducing eInvoice, such as an automated entry of invocies, faster processing of incoming invoices, lower costs of invoice delivery and processing, a fast and simple access to received and archived invoices, use of eInvoice anywhere in the world and the fact that eInvoice can be expanded, depending on specific business sectors.
Practical examples, such as those from companies HOLDINA, ZZI, Penny Plus, etc. have shown the participants the advantages of the use of an electronic exchange of data and introduction of digital procedures. Raisa Ratković, CFO at the company HOLDINA, presented the direct benefits for companies:
”By applying EDI, you ensure a simpler and faster business communication, fastness and quality of sending, security of delivery, less hard documents, and you keep abreast of trends. Business processes become more efficient, you save money and time, reduce the possibility of a human error, achieve more agility when it comes to doing business with business partners, and the reduced use of paper considerably contributes to the protection of the environment”, emphasized Ratković.
The panel discussion ”eInvoice in Bosnia and Herzegovina” has shown that the process of digitalisation helps simplify procedures and improve business operations. Panel participants that intervened during the session included Andra Schlossarek, Data Management Corporate Director at one of the largest German sales chains METRO; Saša Marić, Consumer Rights Protection Ombudsman; Prof. Melika Husić Mehmedović, PhD; Esma Sarajlić Mebarki, Manager at Valicon; Jasmin Marić, Business Development Manager at OLX Group; and Irma Zolj Džeko, Assortment and Shop Manager at dm-drogerie market.
The adoption of a new Law on Internal Trade in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was announced during the panel discussion ”Law on Trade in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. This law mentions for the first time electronic trade and rights and obligations of actors involved in this process. The part of the conference focusing on the process of migration to 2D codes included a presentation of some of the endless possibilities of QR codes.
One of the conclusions of the conference was that the completion of the process of digitalisation requires the introduction of paperless business operations. GS1 Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue supporting companies involved in the production, transport and trade in order to enable them to automatise and standardise their processes in the supply chain using the common language of GS1 global standards.