What is a GLN?

What is a GLN?

A GLN is a Global Location Number and is part of the GS1 systems of standards which is used to identify locations and legal entities. This unique identifier is 13 digits, comprised of a GS1 Company Prefix, Location Reference, and Check Digit.

GLN Diagram

What is a GLN used for?

GLNs are used to identify parties to business transactions; functional groups within a company; or real, physical “places” that might ship, receive, process, or hold inventories.

  • Legal Entities: whole companies; subsidiaries or divisions within a company; health system corporation; etc.
  • Functional Entities: specific department within a legal entity, such as an accounting department, purchasing department, hospital pharmacy, etc.
  • Physical Locations: manufacturing facility, distribution center, warehouse, dock door, hospital wing, bin location, retail store, etc.
  • Digital Locations: an electronic or non-physical address such as an EDI gateway or ERP system

The GLN is a required component for using the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) and various types of e-commerce transactions. This global identification system of GS1 helps assure that the GLN placed in a barcode or Electronic Product Code (EPC) is the same information contained in the corresponding electronic documents processed between trading partners.


Benefits of Using GLNs

There are several benefits of using the GLN to identify parties, functional groups, and physical locations:

  • Improve traceability within the supply chain
  • Eliminate costs caused by inaccurate data
  • Save time on manual documentation and data entry
  • Improve order and invoice process efficiencies
  • Eliminate the need for proprietary identification codes, which can lead to errors and additional costs
  • Simple: an easily defined data structure with integrity checking that facilitates processing and transmission of data
  • Unique: GLNs are unique worldwide
  • Multi-Sectional: the nonsignificant characteristic of the GLN allows any location to be identified for any company regardless of its activity anywhere in the world

Where GLNs are used?

Data carriers

GLNs in barcodes can help to route products to their destination or capture where they came from. Use of EPC®/RFID and readers identified with GLNs can support automatically capturing the movement of goods without the need for line-of-sight scanning or other manual intervention.

Systems and communications 

Sharing information relating to parties and locations using GLN within GS1 standards like EDI and EPCIS will enhance transitional data and physical event data.

GDSN Defined

The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) is the world’s largest product data network.

GDSN makes it possible for any company, in any market, to share high-quality product information seamlessly. Because companies of all sizes need the same thing—timely and reliable product information—to ultimately benefit consumers and patients.

With GDSN, high quality product content is uploaded, maintained and shared automatically, ensuring trading partners have immediate access to the most current and complete information needed to exchange products on both local and global markets.

GDSN Defined

About GS1

GS1 is a neutral, not-for-profit, international organization developing and maintaining standards including barcodes. GS1 standards, services and solutions are designed to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels in a wide variety of sectors.

Sources: GS1.org 

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GDSN Data Excellence Board of Directors Meeting – Brussels, Belgium

GDSN Data Excellence Board of Directors Meeting - Brussels, Belgium

GS1_GDSN_Schema - Commport Communications

At the end of February, I had the opportunity to attend the GDSN Data Excellence Board of Directors meeting in Brussels, Belgium which was part of the GS1 2018 Global Forum.  The Board of Directors was expanded this year with the addition of 5 new data pools, 3 Commercial and 2 GS1 Member owned.

Growth of the Network

While at the Board of Directors meeting, we were advised that the GDSN had just surpassed 26 million GTINs registered. A sustained growth of over 10% per year.  More and more manufacturers and brand owners are realizing that only the GDSN can deliver the single source of trusted data to local and global retailers and other demand parties.

We were also advised that 4 new data pools received certification, so there are now 40 Certified Data pools around the globe now including Iceland.  For more details: https://www.gs1.org/services/gdsn/certified-data-pools

There were over 800 attendees at this Global Forum conference from over 80 countries – more countries participating than at the recent Winter Olympics.

GS1 Cloud

Of the many topics presented at the conference, the predominant one was the GS1 Cloud.  Finally existing in a near ready condition, the GS1 Cloud is the culmination of a few years of effort to provide GDSN Brand Owners with the tool needed to help them sell globally, regardless of their size or financial ability to reach potential global customers.

Commport will provide additional news on this brand new tool in the very near future, but suffice it to say, it really adds value to your participation in the GDSN.

For more on the Global Forum: https://www.gs1.org/events/487/gs1-global-forum-2018

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GS1 Canada: Friend or Foe?

GS1 Canada: Friend or Foe?

Written by Tim Wilson on June 21, 2017 for CanadianHealthcareNetwork.ca 

Tech Tonic
by Tim Wilson

GS1 Canada:

The healthcare supply chain in Canada is ripe for transformation, but progress to date has been slower than expected. Some of this might be due to confusion with regard to the role of GS1 Canada, a not-for-profit organization that, by its own admission, is dedicated to fostering the continuous development and adoption of global e-commerce standards.

“We don’t need to make the point about the importance of standards in healthcare,” says Art Smith, GS1 Canada’s founder and CEO. “Stakeholders need to consolidate around a standard, or else their supply chain and information requirement costs go up.”

GS1 Canada’s support for standards was evident in its response to Ontario’s Healthcare Sector Supply Chain Strategy (HSSCS) Expert Panel’s report, Advancing Healthcare in Ontario: Optimizing the Healthcare Supply Chain – A New Model. The organization responded to the HSSCS Report with a press release lauding the “strong endorsement for the application of ‘an internationally recognized bar coding standard that provides full traceability of products, including pharmaceuticals, to the patient.’”

“The Ontario report was a breath of fresh air,” says Smith. “It’s good news for us.”

There is some confusion, however, because the report itself was highly critical of GS1 Canada, stating that the HSSCS panelists had “heard that the business model, lack of transparency and fee structure implemented by GS1 Canada are obstacles to wider adoption of the standard by healthcare providers in this country.” As well, during the May 16-17 Healthcare Supply Chain Network (HSCN) conference in Toronto, HSSCS Panel Chair Kevin Empey openly chastised GS1 Canada.

“I am not happy with you,” said Empey, speaking to the conference attendees from GS1 Canada in front of a packed house. “The GS1 Canada business model doesn’t work. We need global standards.”

This was a striking critique, given that GS1 Canada is our nation’s member organization of GS1 Global, which refers to itself as “The Global Language of Business.” The whole idea of GS1 is to promote global standards, largely via Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) used in the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN). It’s therefore understandable that the criticism has led to some head-scratching, and defense from GS1 Canada.
“For the record: we see that as misinformation,” says Smith. “We are fully transparent. It is not about our business model. We are not sure why that is even in the report. We were not approached about pricing information. There really is no price barrier – our pricing is very similar to other organizations around the world that are providing standards.”

The concerns appear to come from past efforts by GS1 Canada to argue for added attribute sets in healthcare that would reside outside the GDSN in a proprietary system called the ECCnet Registry, which GS1 Canada brands as “Canada’s national product registry”. ECCnet, for example, is used for nutritional data and images in Canada’s food industry, with fees based on an organization’s annual sales revenue, which GS1 Canada reassesses on a periodic basis.

“A year ago GS1 Canada was being too idealistic, and not speaking the language of its customers,” says Toby O’Hara, General Manager at Healthcare Materials Management Services (HMMS), and who also sits on GS1 Canada’s Healthcare Provider Deployment Committee. “They were insisting on Canadian attributes, which created a barrier to leverage barcodes. ECCnet was a good idea – I appreciate their idealism – but it didn’t work.”

The stubbornness on the part of GS1 Canada with regard to ECCnet slowed adoption in the healthcare supply chain, and created bad faith because although GS1 Canada operates on a cost-recovery basis, it is also a non-soliciting corporation—which means that its financials needn’t be made public. As a result, there is no visibility into how fees are used to remunerate executive salaries and expenses or to support technological investments. For its part, the HSSCS Panel didn’t dive into these organizational issues, but it did try to figure out why Canada’s adoption of global standards has been so slow.

“I spent a lot of time trying to research this,” Empey told me in a follow-up interview after the conference. “GS1 Canada has a healthcare advisory panel, and I know some of the members. I reached out and said, ‘You have had a responsibility to implement, and you have failed for ten years. What’s wrong?’”

From there, Empey encountered healthcare industry grumblings about past efforts on the part of GS1 Canada to force participation in ECCnet, and its fee schedule. However, things appear to have changed. Mr. Smith himself expresses no overt bias toward standards that are specific to Canada.

“Holistically, at the big picture level, there is no reason for different standards in Canada versus any other country in the world,” he says. “Our position on the study was to look at the big picture, given that it is important for Ontario to address the supply chain issue.”

The market itself is saying that having Canada build a unique system outside of the GDSN is a bad idea, because it imbeds a legacy out-of-network technology from a single provider within our national supply chain. The argument here isn’t about standards, it’s about the folly of ECCnet.

“It’s a no brainer to recommend standards,” says Empey. “But vendors are saying that they will not spend extra fees for ECCnet.”

GS1 Canada describes itself as a “neutral, not-for-profit organization”. However, ECCnet puts a shadow on that neutrality: for GS1 Canada to have competitive motivation to drive revenue off a proprietary technology that relies on so-called “Canadian attributes”, and that resides outside of the truly global GDSN, could be seen as a conflict of interest. As well, anyone who has studied technological implementations knows that getting locked in to a legacy system from one provider can impose significant financial and technological risk. For its part, GS1 Canada now claims to have no overt bias, offering ECCnet only as an option – and not a requirement.

“Since GS1 Canada has relaxed ECCnet, we are over the moon happy,” says O’Hara from HMMS. “It allows us to develop new procedures and relationships based on the GTINs. Before ECCnet went away these developments were not imminent – but now things are happening, and they are happening quick.”

They are indeed. Ontario’s HSSCS report landed just after Quebec announced that its new Life Sciences strategy will address supply chain issues, including for medical devices. As well, in early June Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence International Knowledge Translation Platform announced a $1.6 grant over four years for the Supply Chain Advancement Network in Health (SCAN Health).

No doubt, in the context of these and other initiatives, GS1 Canada will consult with supply-chain community stakeholders to talk about their requirements, and also educate people on common formats like EDI and XML. That’s all well and good. However, let’s hope there’ll be no more discussion—and time wasted—on ECCnet, or any further attempts to slow our healthcare supply chain’s adoption of truly global standards via the GDSN.

Tim Wilson is principal of T Wilson Associates. Follow him on Twitter: @TimothyEWilson

Source: https://www.canadianhealthcarenetwork.ca/healthcaremanagers/discussions/blogs/technology-blog/gs1-canada-friend-or-foe-34614#commentlist

GDSN Implementations: What You Need to Know

GDSN Implementation: What You Need to Know

GDSN is a universally accepted set of data formatting standards that ensures senders and receivers of product data are operating within the same structure and maintaining the highest levels of data integrity.

Over the next few years, retailers requiring their suppliers to provide GDSN-compliant data will be growing exponentially. The major players in U.S. retail are already mandating it, and it’s just a matter of time before it works its way through the system to include every national and regional chain in Canada and the U.S.

GDSN 101

If you’re a supplier that is currently selling to a national or regional chain, or if you have plans to start in the near future, it’s in your best long-term interest to start laying the groundwork to provide GDSN-compliant product data. Here are a few tips on selecting a GDSN certified data pool provider and ensuring that your transition to this new industry standard goes smoothly.


4 Step Process to Get Started With GDSN


1. Choosing Your GDSN Provider

For buyers and sellers just entering the world of GDSN, the most important factor in deciding which provider to utilize is that you do not have to use the same GS1certified GDSN provider as your trading partners. By definition, all GDSN certified data pool providers can seamlessly interact and exchange data with one another.

That opens up the field considerably. Although there only a handful of GDSN-compliant solution providers operating in North America right now, the number is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, and with it will come a wide variety of fee structures, solution options and service levels. These are the elements you should be focusing on.

2. GDSN Pricing

Compare competing pricing plans – upfront sign-up cost, usage fees and annual maintenance charges. You’ll be surprised at how many ways there are to pay for services that essentially have the same end result! Choose a plan that best suits your business needs based on your product line, and future plans. A quality GDSN provider will act as a consultant, helping you to make the right decisions for your company’s implementation.

3. Comprehensive GDSN Solutions

Consider the GDSN solutions offered by a provider. Does their product offering meet all your needs or will you be forced to bring in other partners to achieve your goals? Are they targeting their platform toward large multinational traders or the SME market? Is it industry-specific or adaptable to wider uses? Does their GDSN solution need to be integrated into your existing IT infrastructure or is it hosted remotely and accessed through a PC via the internet? What kind of reporting options do they offer? Have they invested in developing and updating their own proprietary platform or are they reselling another company’s?

Lastly, as with any company you’re considering doing business with, investigate their operations. Ask to speak to current clients to learn about their experiences with set-up and training, ongoing customer service support, and continuous improvements to the application.

4. GDSN Implementation

Of course, deciding on a GDSN-compliant provider is just the beginning. Now it’s time make any necessary adjustments to your current methods of managing product data, integrate the new GDSN platform into your daily business and establish the data pipeline with your trading partner.

The best GDSN providers view themselves as true business partners and will be with you every step of the way here. Their expertise will prove invaluable in preparing a comprehensive project plan that explains every step of the process, allocates responsibilities, and outlines expected completion dates from the first training session right through to the final item syncronization. Also, look for a GDSN solution partner that assigns dedicated support staff to each project. There’s nothing better than being on a first name basis with the resources that are helping you prepare your business for the next chapter in its success!

GDSN advantages in efficiency, cost-savings and customer service are well documented at GS1 Website, the web site of the non-profit organization that defined and maintains international GDSN standards.

Contact us today to find out about the advantages of having Commport as your GDSN partner.


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Commport now Lowe’s Canada Preferred GDSN Provider


Commport announces agreement with Lowes Canada, earning preferred GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network) technology vendor status

Further enhancing Commport’s trusted reputation in the North American GDSN marketplace, suppliers such as Nest Labs and Miele are among those vendors have chosen Commport’s Datapool service. Allowing them the ability to send and receive GDSN product data efficiently and economically with Lowes Canada as well as other North American GDSN retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Kroger, and more.

Lowes Canada vendors entrust their GDSN product data to Commport’s Datapool services. Commport Datapool is a trusted solution for manufacturers, distributors, brokers, and importers who want to simplify how they exchange their GDSN item data and collaborate with their trading partners.

About Lowes Canada

In 1921, Lowe’s began as a small neighbourhood hardware store. The philosophy was simple: to deliver superior customer service. That first store was a place where customers always felt welcomed, and always found the help they needed.

Since then, we’ve grown into one of the world’s largest home improvement retailers, becoming a Fortune 500 company with thousands of employees. This incredible success story begins another chapter with the expansion of Lowe’s here in Canada.

At our Canadian stores, you’ll find thousands of products covering every area of home improvement, from the top brands you know and trust. With our Everyday Low Prices, you can have the confidence that you’re getting the best value without having to wait for a sale.

But above all, like that first small hardware store, Lowe’s is still a place where you’ll feel welcomed. Lowe’s friendly personal help is always available; whether you’ve got a complex project or simple question, we’re there for you.

Because the way we see it, “big box” shouldn’t mean little service.

Learn more about our best in class GDSN Datapool solutions 

Provinces Support the GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network) – New Resources for MEDEC Members from Commport Communications

Provinces Support the GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network)

New Resources for MEDEC Members from Commport Communications

GDSN 101

Message from MEDEC Allied Business Member Commport Communications regarding free resources they’re offering for MEDEC Members:

Provincial health authorities are supporting the GSDN as an authorized global product content solution for their suppliers to use to publish their product content to them. Some provinces have not yet declared their support for the GDSN but additional announcements are expected.

The GDSN is a GS1 Global, standards-based network of 31 certified data pools. Suppliers use a GDSN product file built for their industry to load all their product content into their GDSN source data pool and then deliver standardized, validated, totally accurate content to their trading partners. The GDSN employs a data synchronization model that keeps both the supplier and their trading partners on the same page by publishing changes and new item / deletion information to them within 24 hours of the changes being made by the supplier in their GDSN catalogue.

Click Read More for additional information and details about Commport’s GDSN-related resources for MEDEC members.

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