What is Global Data Synchronization (GDS)?
The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) is an Internet-based end-to-end integration system, allowing trading partners (Manufacturers, Distributors, Wholesalers, Retailers, Food Service operators and Healthcare organizations) to securely access and exchange product information in real-time. Trading partners always have the latest information in their systems, and any changes made to one company's database are automatically and immediately provided to all of the other companies who do business with them. The GDSN uses the GS1 system based upon the Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN).
The foundation of GDS
- Product data is updated consistently between trading partners
- Data is validated against standards and business rules ensuring its accuracy
- Trading partners classify their products in a common, standardized way
- Trading partners have a single point of entry through their chosen data pool, reducing the cost of using multiple vendors
- The uniqueness of items, such as products, cases, pallets etc., is guaranteed through the GS1 Global Registry
Benefits realized by adopting GDS
- Standardized system for trading partners, reducing duplicate systems and processes
- Reduced costs through the removal of inefficiencies and exceptions
- Improved on-shelf availability, resulting in increased sales
- Enhanced collaboration between trading partners
- Support of new supply chain processes, for example, home shopping or RFID
The key elements of GDS
There are three key elements to GDS:
- Data Synchronization – ensures that the recipient's product database – or catalog – contains the same information as the supplier’s database.
- Global Standards – manage how the product data is stored and formatted.
- Network – allows product information to be published by its source and subscribed to by a recipient.
The GDSN is comprised of a growing number of Data Pools that store the product information and attributes. These Data Pools all talk to each other through the GS1 Global Registry that acts as the "Yellow Pages" to locate products/items.
The GDSN enables the registration and publication of product information (e.g., descriptions, weight, dimensions, etc.) by providing a global repository for standardized item, location and trading partner data. Suppliers send this data to the GDSN via their chosen data pool. The Data Pool (e.g., 1SYNC, SA2) then checks the data for compliance to GS1 (EAN.UCC) standards and validates it with demand-side partners via the GS1 Global Registry, ensuring that all trading partners are using identical, updated standards-compliant data.
Essentially, the GDSN facilitates the synchronization of Item data between supply- and demand-side trading partners. Inaccurate information accounts for inventory errors, lost shelf time, out of stock, less efficient logistics (warehousing & transportation), billing errors and costly deductions.
Implementing GDSN standards-based electronic synchronization services forms a non-proprietary basis for collaborative capabilities among trading partners.
Using the GDSN for publishing and consuming product data is very straightforward, however it does require that trading partners are set-up to participate, similar to how one may have setup EDI in the past.
The process involves each participant subscribing to a GDSN certified Data Pool.
There are many Data Pools to choose from that operate at regional levels, often managed by GS1 regional organizations.
Your choice may depend on who you intend to synchronize data with. The regional Data Pools are a good choice if you do not intend to trade outside your home (country) market. But if you want to trade internationally then you should choose a Data Pool that has global coverage like:
- SA2 Worldsync
LANSA can advise you on the Data pool solution to best suit your needs.
Once you have a Data Pool subscription the next task is to either populate it with product item data or subscribe to existing item data, depending on whether you are a supply- or demand-side organization. There are two methods for interaction with a Data Pool – manual or integrated. The LANSA Data Sync Direct solution ensures that all your data sources are fully integrated to provide a complete end-to-end solution.
The manual approach should be avoided whenever possible because it carries the risk of a manufacturer (brand owner) entering bad data and the recipient (e.g., retailer, distributor, hospital) receiving bad data.