What’s The Big Deal With GDSN?

By Kerry Young on Aug 24, 2016

Buzz abounds when it comes to the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). There have been big changes over the last year, including the recent GDSN Major Release 3 (MjR3). These updates apply to manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, food service operators and health care organizations. So what is the GDSN, and why is it such a big deal?

GS1 Standards Set the Stage

The GDSN is part of the GS1 standards. The standards use a unique set of identification numbers for products, companies, locations, services, assets, logistics units and customers at any point in the supply chain. In short, it enables trading partners to synchronize despite language or geographic barriers.

How GDSN Works

The GDSN, an internet-based integration system, allows trading partners to automatically share their business data with each other. This means organizations can have confidence when one of their suppliers or retailers updates their database. Their own database also updates as a result. Everyone has access to the same continuously refreshed data, in real-time.

The essential element of the GDSN is GS1-certified data pools. These data pools communicate through the GS1 Global Registry. The registry keeps track of connections, guarantees data uniqueness, and ensures compliance with shared GS1 standards. Subscribing to a certified data pool allows trading partners to participate in the GDSN.

There are a growing number of data pools emerging, and the information can be overwhelming. Organizations should work with a Master Data Management (MDM) expert to ensure they are on the right path to data pool participation.

Once linked to a data pool, trading partners populate it with product item data or subscribe to an existing item data, utilizing a manual or integrated approach. Manual data entry proves risky, as a manufacturer or brand owner can enter bad data. Therefore, the recipient – a retailer, distributer or hospital, for instance – receives the bad data.

GDSN Benefits

The foundation of Global Data Standardization (GDS) is consistency and accuracy.

Standardization for trading partners reduces duplicate systems and processes. Removing inefficiencies and exceptions lowers costs. On-shelf availability improves, resulting in increased sales. Everybody wins.

While there are many benefits to the GDSN, it’s also clear that organizations can get left behind without it.

For example, the GDSN uses the GS1 system based on the Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN). In May of this year, Google launched a mandatory GTIN update. This update left products without a GTIN automatically ineligible to serve in Google shopping auctions.

Retailers rushed to synchronize product data as the Google GTIN update was announced. Some chose a manual route while others powered through with a product information management (PIM) system.Either way you cut it, one thing is clear: The cost of poor and inconsistent content continues to mount as the drivers of digital commerce insist on transparency indata feeds.

Catch up with us later this week for a look at the first major GDSN update in 10 years – GDSN Major Release 3.

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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