Tag Archives: GDSN

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

An Open Letter to GS1, RE: GDSN Marketing

Dear GS1,

How have you been?  I’ve been fine, done a bit of writing since we last met and gotten a little greyer.  How are the kids?  My two kids are doing great but I have to admit, after raising two I don’t know how you do it with 125 kids, or whatever the number of M.O.s there are today.

The reason I’m writing to you today is to offer you my thoughts on your Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) Marketing campaign.  That campaign would be more effective if it focused on demonstrating the distinction between internal master data (and programs associated with improving its quality), and externally shared master data (and the significantly different kinds of programs needed to improve its quality).  And especially to show that many (most?) of company master data is, in reality, externally shared master data, either incoming or outgoing.  That’s the step that I see missing from your campaign.

Companies who are already familiar with the kind of programs that are designed to improve their internal master data need to be taught to see the special characteristics of Continue reading An Open Letter to GS1, RE: GDSN Marketing

GS1 Standards – Betcha Can’t Use Just One!

The title is a paraphrase of a TV commercial from the 1960’s, ’70’s and ’80’s for Lay’s Potato Chips but the sentiment is the same.  You really can’t get away with using only a single GS1 standard.  That’s why they are sometimes referred to as “The GS1 System of Standards“.  It’s a “system” of standards.  Multiple standards that are designed to work for you together in concert; as a whole; not independently.

So when your customer demands that you make use of Global Location Numbers (GLN) and/or Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), they are starting you down the path of adoption of much more than just those two “entry-level” standards (see my essay “So a customer demands that you use GLN’s and GTIN’s. What next?”).  Here is a partial list of other GS1 standards that you may benefit from adopting once you fully embrace GLN and GTIN: Continue reading GS1 Standards – Betcha Can’t Use Just One!

Before You Participate in The GS1 US 2015 Readiness Program, Read This

Important Notice To Readers of This Essay On November 27, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 into law. That act has many provisions, but one is to pre-empt all existing and future state serialization and pedigree laws like those that previously existed in California and Florida. Some or all of the information contained in this essay is about some aspect of one or more of those state laws and so that information is now obsolete. It is left here only for historical purposes for those wishing to understand those old laws and the industry’s response to them.

GS1 US is dedicated to expanding the adoption of GS1 Global’s standards for supply chain interaction in the U.S. market.  Almost every country in the world has a GS1 “Member Organization” (M.O.) that is dedicated to the same thing within their borders.  With the local M.O.’s primary focus on driving adoption, their most valuable tool is that country’s government.  If they can get the government to reference GS1 standards in their laws, their work is much easier.

This isn’t unique to GS1, or course.  All standards organizations know this and they all have various approaches to getting the attention of each country’s government.  There is nothing wrong with this.  In fact, it makes perfect sense since, unlike standards organizations themselves, countries always have very large enforcement wings.

But what happens when those governments are too big to sway easily?  What if it costs too much and takes too long to get them to see the light?  This is when a standards adoption organization needs to get creative.  In my opinion, that’s what has led GS1 Healthcare US to create the “2015 Readiness Program”.  It was out of frustration with the California State Government and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and their, so far, unwillingness to create laws and regulations that mandate the use of GS1 standards.  Let me explain. Continue reading Before You Participate in The GS1 US 2015 Readiness Program, Read This

So a customer demands that you use GLN’s and GTIN’s. What next?

In the healthcare supply chain a significant number of hospital group purchasing organizations (GPO’s) have stipulated, to varying degrees, that their suppliers begin making use of GS1 Global Location Numbers (GLN’s) in all of their trade with their member hospitals by the end of 2010 (Sunrise 2010) and GS1 Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN’s) by the end of 2012 (Sunrise 2012).  Here are the announcements from Novation, Premier, MedAssets and Amerinet.  From the wording of their announcements it appears that Continue reading So a customer demands that you use GLN’s and GTIN’s. What next?

Supply Chain Data Synchronization and Patient Safety

Does the supply chain itself make any contribution to patient safety?  The legitimate pharmaceutical supply chain is that complex web of companies that move drugs from the manufacturers to the pharmacies that dispense them to patients.  The supply chain always includes both of those end points (manufacturer and pharmacy) and, in the U.S., normally also includes at least one wholesaler.  The supply chain is typically viewed as “Manufacturer to Wholesaler to Pharmacy”, whether the pharmacy is within a hospital, clinic, retail independent, chain store, grocery store, or mail order.  The great majority of prescription drugs arriving in the hands of U.S. patients have passed through this supply chain.

So what contribution does this chain make toward the safety of those patients?  In my view, it comes in three ways: Continue reading Supply Chain Data Synchronization and Patient Safety

“Why the rush for GS1 standards?”

In April of last year VHA, a nationwide network of community-owned health care systems, published a viewpoint essay on their website called “The Track to Improving Health Care will be Built with IT Standards”.  The posting was written by Mike Cummins, Chief Information Officer of VHA, Inc.  In it, he draws a great analogy between the widespread adoption of a standard railroad gauge by railroad companies 150 years ago as part of the U.S. Transcontinental Railway (as set in motion by President Abraham Lincoln), and the potential benefits of widespread adoption of health care IT standards.  Mike points out that some historians believe that the nationwide adoption of a single railway gauge accelerated the evolution of the greatness of the United States.  It’s well worth reading.

I think the problem Mike sees is that there are so many incompatible IT standards in use in the healthcare industry, with different ones in use in different pockets of the industry.  There are too many proprietary approaches in use, and too many standards in use in one segment of the industry that are incompatible with similar standards in use in another.  In effect, it’s a patchwork, yet each user can claim to be using a standard.  This was exactly the case with the railroads 150 years ago as Mike’s analogy implies.  Each railroad company, or groups of companies, had their favorite “standard” gauge, but which standard was “the best”…the one worthy of becoming the national standard?  I don’t know, but I do know they eventually figured it out and settled on a single gauge for the Transcontinental Railroad and that gauge become the defacto standard.  That allowed the country to be connected and, as Mike points out, historians have dawn a direct line from that agreement to economic expansion and eventual greatness.

Mike makes several proposals that I interpret as ways to cut through the patchwork of standards and get the industry to settle, like the railroad companies, on a single standard for some key technologies like Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Health Identification Numbers and Personal Health Records (PHR).  He calls for the broad, mandatory adoption of GS1barcodes, Global Location Numbers (GLN), Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN) and accelerated plans by the FDA to mandate the usage of Unique Device Identification (UDI).  He calls for the use of part of the federal economic stimulus money to be used for standards development.  Continue reading “Why the rush for GS1 standards?”

Master Data, Supply Chain Master Data and Instance Data

We need to make a clear distinction between traditional Master Data (MD), Supply Chain Master Data (SCMD), and Instance Data (IData). This will help us understand some important differences in various supply chain track and trace technologies.

Master Data

Wikipedia defines “Master Data” like this today:

“…Master Data is that persistent, non-transactional data that defines a business entity for which there is, or should be, an agreed upon view across the organization.”

This isn’t detailed enough for me. MD must include a data element that serves as an identifier. An identifier that refers to a given MD record must be unique within the organization.

Good candidates for MD are customer information, location information, product information and employee information. The characteristic these all have in common is that the data behind them rarely change. For example, I have been issued an employee number by my company. My employee number is the unique identifier for the MD that describes me to the company. My mailing address, phone number, marital status, social security number rarely change.

Most organizations make use of MD so that they can maintain the definition of these entities in a single place, and they can simply refer to these definitions through the corresponding unique identifier. The identifier provides a quick way to get to the full set of information. In many cases, the identifier can serve as a stand-in for the full set of information.

Supply Chain Master Data

Wikipedia doesn’t yet have a definition for Supply Chain Master Data. I’ve coined the term to describe something that is similar, but distinctly different than Master Data as described above. I’ll define it like this:

“Supply Chain Master Data is that persistent, non-transactional data that defines a business entity for which there is, or should be, an agreed upon view across the supply chain.” Continue reading Master Data, Supply Chain Master Data and Instance Data