data exchange

Data exchange through GS1 Data Pools and GDSN

The GTIN-13 standard for product identification is a vital first step for any retailer using automated sales billing processes. These identifiers facilitate seamless data exchange. With 13 digits, the first 12 indicate the country code and company number assigned by GS1 and the final product number set by the manufacturer or marketer. The system calculates the numeric checksum as the last digit using a formula developed by GS1 to guarantee the integrity of the identification process, making the GTIN-13 an essential tool for any business striving for excellence.

These identifiers make inventory management, invoicing, and tracking more manageable for the supply chain. Therefore, buyers and suppliers can access data on demand from the system.

GS1 Identifiers for Data Exchange:

The information introduced in the opening section of this article only covers a small portion of the extensive field of Trade Item Identification. With GS1 offering a comprehensive identification system for trade items, it has become the universal language of commerce across the globe.

The GTIN-13 Product Identifier by GS1:

Our upcoming articles will explore product identifiers and their role in data exchange. The GTIN-13 serves as the foundation for a product before it embarks on its journey to the customer. This identifier distinguishes the product at the SKU level, where it is sold individually to the end buyer. Each unique item sold bears its distinct GTIN-13. However, if the same thing is packaged differently with varying unit quantities, each packet becomes a different SKU with its own GTIN and is sold separately to the customer.

GTIN-13 is the cornerstone of a product’s hierarchy within data pools. Specifically, it serves as the identifier for the child level, from which we derive the mid- to high-level hierarchies for product packaging. The parent level, typically assigned to the topmost logistics unit, represents the highest level in this hierarchy.

The GTIN-14 Packaging Level Identifier by GS1:

Data Pools collect and store product data from the hierarchy’s highest to lowest level. Their services typically include product content and product taxonomy management. The GTIN-14 packaging level (logistics unit) identifier comprising 14 numeric digits represents the mid and parent hierarchies. The starting number or prefix of the first 13 digits is a number from 1-8 that represents different packaging types. The company assigns this to the inner cartons, master cartons, and shipping pallets as per its expediency. The country code and company number assigned by GS1 follow this prefix, while the company’s product number is the same as it sets for the GTIN-13. The last digit is the checksum number. The system calculates it using the formula developed by GS1 to ensure the integrity of the identifier.

Data Pools provide an essential service for synchronising product data in the GDSN. These systems rely on two identifiers, GTIN-13 and GTIN-14, to identify products and their packaging hierarchies. Another critical element they utilise is the GLN (Global Location Number), which is a unique identifier provided by GS1 to identify different locations. Suppliers can streamline their product identification process by allocating a GLN to corporate offices and other shipping locations. The structure of the GLN is similar to the GTIN-13, having 13 digits. The only difference is that the supplier assigns the location number instead of the product number. Suppose a manufacturer or marketer subscribes for 1000 barcodes. Assigning product numbers starting from 000 and location numbers in reverse order, starting from 999 for the corporate office, is prudent to avoid confusion.

Services provided by Data Pools:

A product’s primary seller or marketer is responsible for providing the complete hierarchy data. Suppliers must also furnish shipping location details to the Data Pool service, disseminating the product data to channel partners via the GDSN network. If the seller and the buyer subscribe to the same data pool service, the system automatically synchronises the data with the buyer. The seller is accountable for furnishing Product Content and Product Taxonomy to the Data Pool.

Most data pools generally synchronise the data in their standardised formats. Some channel partners may require additional data from suppliers. The Data Pools store the extra data in formats customised by their subscribers. Upon achieving a 100% score for populating the needed data, the system synchronises it. After that, the system populates all items without errors with the channel partner. The seller can expect to receive orders only after the buyer subscribes to the product. The buyer subscribes to the product once they receive error-free data.

Product Taxonomy and GDSN:

In today’s digital age, where e-commerce has become a norm, a Product Taxonomy is crucial for sellers to provide comprehensive information about their products to potential buyers. It enables the end user to make a well-informed purchasing decision by presenting them with all the necessary details about the product.

An item may have more than one use; from another perspective, multiple products may be available for a specific purpose. A well-organised and categorised taxonomy ensures accurate information on the e-commerce platform, and the user can choose the appropriate product that meets their requirements. This factor is instrumental in boosting sales, as a satisfied customer is more likely to return and make additional purchases.

Functions of the Data Pools:

Although most product details are standard, the taxonomy varies between channel partners to suit their systems. Therefore, it is essential to have up-to-date information in the Data Pool that accurately disseminates and updates information in real time. Thus, the system ensures that the information presented to the end user is always accurate. It creates a sense of trust and reliability in the seller, leading to more sales and long-term customer loyalty.

Data Pools synchronise the Global Location Number (GLN) numbers to identify the shipping location of the goods accurately. Thus, they ensure the correct site is attributed to each shipment, providing transparency and clarity throughout the supply chain process. By utilising this synchronisation process for data exchange, businesses can maintain an efficient and reliable system for tracking their shipments. Therefore, they can plan just-in-time inventory.

The Data Pool often plays the role of a mediator in the GDSN. The seller must input customer-specific data into the Data Pool Portal or upload data sheets in Excel or CSV format. The Data Pool offers standardised tabs for all channel partners. The system provides custom tabs to specific channel partners who may require additional details. Therefore, if the supplier modifies the product data, the Data Pool only updates the changes. As a result, the system will automatically synchronise the product data in real time. Once the seller updates the data, the Data Pool publishes the changes to the buyer. The buyer will subscribe to the product and place orders upon successful synchronisation.

Cataloguing services aid in the maintenance of the Data Pool:

Gathering data to populate their Data Pools can considerably burden organisations’ workforces. Such a task requires significant time and resources, which may divert their attention and efforts from other urgent matters. Businesses can outsource product data cataloguing to experts with the necessary expertise and experience. Doing so can save valuable resources and allow their workforce to focus on more pressing concerns. Therefore, Data Pools are essential to facilitate data exchange.

Please visit our Logistics Support Page to learn about various outsourced services to synchronise data.


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