Tom Wilson

Partner, McKinsey & Company

Principal Consultant to the Grocery industry

Principal Consultant Consumer Goods Industries


From the late 1960's McKinsey had the significant consulting relationships in the Consumer Goods industries, with the trade associations, grocery manufacturers, retailers and most significantly with the Ad Hoc committee, that with Tom Wilson managed, which achieved the creation of the standard Universal Product Code and Barcode Symbol.  Although not techiically inside the industry, Tom strategized, coordinated and communicated how to achieve the objectives and ran interferrence when challenges to accomplishing those objectives arose.  Here is his Oral History.
  1. Tom Wilsons before involvement with the Grocery Standardization project.  ( 2 min 16 seconds)


  2. Projects and events that led up to the formation of an Industry effort to standardize product codes.  (7 min 30 sec)



  3. The Process used to determine if there should be a standard and then to define it  ( 8 min 40 Seconds)



  4. The McKinsey Process proposed to the Ad Hoc Committee. (1 min 19 seconds)



  5. The Ad Hoc Committee characteristics  (2 min 27 seconds)


  6. Challenges to the implementation of systems using the UPC Barcode and Symbol at checkout (7 minutes 38 seconds)


  7. Developing industry support for the outcome of the standardization process  (6 min 12 seconds)


  8. After the barcode was announced what hindered acceptance. (4 min 8 seconds)


  9. Surprises after it was in use  (6 min 27 seconds)


  10. Factors that led to the success of the U.P.C standardization process.  (17 min 9 seconds)


  11. Limitations on U.P.C. applications (2 min 48 seconds)


  12. Surprises, legal and business.  (3 min and 8 seconds)