Before You Sign Up For GDSN, Get Your Data In Order With A Data Quality Program

Last week I published an essay that gave GS1 some advice on how to trigger interest in adoption of their Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN).  Those of you who read that essay in the first two days read my snarky comments about GS1 seemingly attempting to commandeer the term “Data Quality” to include the need for GDSN.  That was based on a mis-interpretation of their marketing materials for their “Data Quality Framework” and as soon as I discovered my mistake I removed that part of the essay, leaving the core point of the essay intact (see “An Open Letter to GS1, RE: GDSN Marketing”).

In fact, GS1 is saying exactly the opposite of what I originally thought regarding Data Quality and GDSN.  That is, before you start publishing your supply chain master data (SCMD) through GDSN you should ensure that the quality of your data is high.  As GS1 points out, “Good quality data is foundational to collaborative commerce and global data synchronisation.”  I couldn’t agree more.

The GS1 Data Quality program is centered on the “Data Quality Framework”, which is maintained by GS1 but, according to them, was originally developed by AIM, CIES, ECR Europe, FMI, GCI and GMA.  These organizations are predominantly focused on the food supply chain which is ahead of the healthcare supply chains in their use of automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) and in the use of GS1 GDSN.

The Data Quality Framework appears to be a giant “lessons learned” resource provided by the members of the food supply chain to other companies and other supply chains who might want to follow in their footsteps.  As such, it could be very valuable to companies in the healthcare supply chains to help streamline their move to more efficient AIDC and data exchange.  From my experience, healthcare has a long way to go.

You can download the GS1 Data Quality Framework from this GS1 webpage.  It consists of a ZIP file that contains a self-assessment scorecard, a Data Quality Presentation (2010), a Data Quality KPI Checklist and two PDF files.  One called “Implementation Guides for the Data Quality Framework”, and “Data Quality Framework”.

In my experience within the healthcare supply chains, companies resist the idea of data synchronization, but I haven’t heard anyone who thinks the quality of their master data couldn’t be improved.  In fact, it’s a perennial problem.  Of course, you will find that the Data Quality Framework that GS1 is offering expects you to make use of GS1 identifiers like GTIN and GLN.  No surprise, but somewhere the case has to be clearly made in support of all members of a given supply chain benefiting from the use of the same identifier for a given thing.  Is this it?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Why not give it a chance?  No one knows better than you that your master data isn’t perfect.