“Marking”, this frightening word…

“Marking”, this frightening word…On June 27, a pilot project was launched in Russia to put special marks on the textile industry consumer products. We asked Alexey Chernyshev, AKFA Commercial Director (www.akfa.ru), who supervises the pilot marking projects, to tell in more detail how the process is going on, and what manufacturers and suppliers should expect in the near future.

Alexey, would you please first tell us a little about your company. Why was it your company to become a member of this program?

We, AKFA, work in the field of international logistics and customs clearance of cargoes, in outsourcing in foreign economic activities. Simply put, we help our customers deliver their goods to Russia, provide logistics, and carry out customs clearance and certification...

Since there are a lot of children's shoes and clothes, toys, strollers, and similar products among the goods that we import, it was important for us to give our customers simple and effective solutions. Therefore, when the pilot project on the marking of footwear began, we were the first among the logistics companies to enter it. By the way, we also entered the working group on marking of the textile, clothing and footwear industry goods.

What difficulties have you met? On what stage is the process now?

Recently, we have already delivered trial batches of marked goods to the Russian Federation with some partners (footwear trading companies). We have encountered difficulties, yes, and many difficulties. However, by now, we have become well aware of where we will start our work, and what we will do when marking becomes mandatory.

IT solutions for labeling are the main problem. All that the market now has is some kind of software solutions that companies have made for themselves. That is, each company wrote a solution for themselves, and there is no general solution to be used by everyone. Moreover, today, all business people of Russia expect that 1C Company will release the main IT solution. Of course, we are very interested to find out how “correct” and convenient a product they will make. However, it seems that there are no common solutions covering all technological processes, and they are unlikely to be. If the company is engaged exclusively in the transportation of goods and its warehouse processing, then the software refinement will be minimal. If your company performs agent functions and is in the chain of foreign trade operations, then your work volume will be many times larger.

What information does the marking code include?

The code contains basic information that will identify each product:the type of shoe, color, size, top material, lining, sole, supplier name, and other data. Attributive composition for adult and children's shoes is the same. However, the code itself is individual for each pair!

I will share the latest information: now you can download the Honest Sign mobile app on your phone, find labeled shoes in the store and check it out!

Many of our manufacturers and suppliers have reasonable concerns that the label will affect the price of the product. How critical is this, in your opinion?

The cost of one code for shoes is 50 kopecks plus VAT per pair. However, in reality, nobody has ever paid any money, since everything was free for the participants of the pilot project.

I think that the cost of expenses will be higher, since the payment for the work of IT specialists, payment for applying a code, etc. will be added to 50 kopecks. Nevertheless, those who imported goods legally should not be afraid of a significant increase. A large increase in the price of the product is only for those who imported goods under the "gray" schemes because now they have to pay all the necessary duties. Perhaps, such companies will even leave the market.

What can you advise companies that will start product marking this year?

They should understand that no one will cancel the marking of those products that are included into the list. They should not try to understand in one day everything that the participants of the Pilot Project have been working on over the last two years. It takes time. They should look for the information on this topic on the Internet: there are documents and expert opinions. For example, we ourselves conduct marking workshops, and they are available on the Internet on our YouTube channel AKFA http://markirovka.akfa.ru.

At CJF – Children and Junior Fashion 2019. Autumn a seminar on marking will be held on September 24. You are welcome! We will talk in detail about the marking of children’s footwear, we will discuss practical issues and, perhaps, we will touch on the topic of marking in the textile, clothing and footwear industry.