Global Developments in Product Data Standards (GDSN) – Are you Ready?



GS1, the global not-for-profit association that works to implement global standards in tracking and monitoring supply chains expanded its Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) last year. If you didn’t already know, the system of standards developed by GS1 and its member organizations across 100 countries is the most widely used supply chain standard in the world. Over 25,000 business firms and corporations use the GS1 GDSN to track their supply chain, coordinate logistics, and manage efficiencies across a variety of industry sectors.

GS1 has developed a global registry for tracking all manner of physical objects used along the supply chain. Essentially the blood in the cardiovascular system of supply and demand chains that is the GDSN, the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) system now has more than 12 million unique registered entries. By creating a unified language to describe on the ground supply chains, the GDSN facilitates up-to-date and market-responsive data sharing between companies and their suppliers, such that when a trading partner updates their product information, their business partners’ systems automatically update as well. This increases accuracy in ordering, which cuts down on the time it takes to bring a product to market. But it also drives down supply chain costs by reducing human errors in invoicing, as well as numerous duplicated processes that occur in other inferior systems.

New developments in streamlining the technology behind GDSN, as well as new and existing regulatory requirements from the US Food and Drug Administration and the EU Commission prompted a major release of updates to the GDSN system, which bring added flexibility and aid in efficient regulatory compliance. New adopters will be able to access newer features which are aimed at entry-level users and include options that make it easier for firms to adopt the language and modify it to suit their industry.

One such development is the reduction of ‘core’ item attributes GTINs regardless of sector. This frees up valuable data space and allows sector-specific information and attributes to be added later to the core as needed on a firm-by-firm, industry-by-industry basis. This smaller data set is easier for companies to implement. Also included in the upgrade are new product categories and new features that target emerging business applications, such as sustainable development and hazardous materials management.

With this new roll-out, GS1 continues to provide added value and flexibility in product data exchange management.

Charlie Alsmiller

Throughout his career, Charlie Alsmiller has focused on customer problems in difficult industries such as Energy and Telecommunications. Prior to starting Appterra in 2005, Alsmiller was VP of Global Operations for Allegro Development, a leading provider of software for the energy sector. He has also served as president of OmniSpace Technologies, a leading SaaS provider that he founded in 1999. He spent over 10 years in the consulting world with Price Waterhouse and Deloitte Consulting, where he participated in a wide variety of projects for very high profile clients. Mr. Alsmiller holds a BBA from Baylor University in Management and Information Systems and a MBA from the University of Dallas in International Business. Specialties: Technology ventures, Enterprise Software, Contract Negotiation, International Operations, Private Equity, Product Management, Strategic Alliances, Software Implementation, Software Development

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