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The GS1 Item Alignment initiative via the GDSN now includes foodservice and healthcare and is rapidly advancing worldwide.

 

This article provides an update on the status of GS1 standards-based Item Alignment via the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). A lot has changed in the last two years. GS1 US has a new CEO, Bob Carpenter, who is devoted to the advancement of GS1's core mission in the United States. I believe that having a senior executive who is fully committed to advancing the standards-based initiatives in the U.S. and improving commerce for GS1 community members is a good structural change. Further, it is my opinion that GS1 has found a quality individual—experienced, hard-working, and well-educated—to fill the organization's most important leadership role. I spent some time speaking with Bob Carpenter, as well as some of his key executives. What I learned is detailed below.

Executive Vision and Focus for GS1 US

Carpenter has set five key areas of focus for GS1 US that he calls "The Focus Five":

  1. Community Enablement: This includes better processes, tactics, and tools, including better analytics to bring companies "on board" with item alignment, EPCglobal adoption, and other GS1 initiatives.
  2. Sector Focus: New organizations have been formed within GS1 US to advance adoption in the foodservice and healthcare industries.
  3. Data Quality: The effort here is to develop specific tools and practices, including a data quality scorecard, to enhance and improve the accuracy of product information related to the Global Trade Identification Numbers (GTINs) being transacted in the network. GS1 US is actively working with retailers in this area. This focus helps bring about a smoother and more valuable adoption of the internal master data-management initiatives that are ongoing at so many companies.
  4. Fresh Food: This area involves not only bringing the standards-based initiatives of GS1 US efforts—found for so many years in "dry goods"—to meats and produce, but also providing meaningful initiatives to improve product safety and traceability.
  5. Breakthrough Projects: These initiatives are a bit more long-term. Bob Carpenter has assigned an experienced GS1 US product executive to look toward the future and bring two key, broadly defined areas of interest to fruition: 1) Visibility 2010: Use the power of RFID to show exactly where GTINs are in the supply chain for the Electronic Product Code (EPC) and the EPC Global Network. This has potentially huge value relative to product authenticity, supply-chain management, and product-recall consumer safety. 2) B2C: Ensure the authenticity and accuracy of product information available to consumers through electronic channels. This includes things like being able to scan products in a store with a mobile device (e.g., cell phone, BlackBerry, iPhone, etc.) with a bar code reader-scanner and quickly see things like extensive nutrition, product content, and potentially competitive pricing information.

 

072610HolzmanSubscriptions-by-Item

Figure 1: Subscriptions by GTIN over 30 months (click images to enlarge)

 

The Numbers on GDSN Adoption of GS1 Item Alignment

Working for a leading vendor of GS1 Item Alignment solutions, I meet with many companies looking to improve their supply chain using GS1 standards. I sometimes hear comments like, "Oh, yeah, I remember that data sync thing. What happened to it?" This section proves that the GS1 Item Alignment adoption, as communicated over the GDSN over both 6- and 2.5-year time horizons, is thriving. The numbers and charts below are compiled from GS1 adoption reports.

 

Over nearly a six-year span, participating Global Location Numbers (GLNs) have increased from 137 to 23,574, and GDSN-registered GTINs have increased from 74,609 to 5,171,170. The following charts show growth trends. In the 30-month period of September 2007 to March 2010, the number of GLNs in the GDSN increased 67 percent, and the number of GTINs in the GDSN increased 173 percent.

 

 072610HolzmanGLN-Growth-Over-the-Last-6-Years

Figure 2: GLN Growth over 5+ Years

 

 072610HolzmanGTIN-Growth-Over-the-Last-6-Years

Figure 3: GTIN Growth over Last 5+ Years

 

There are now 28 GDSN Certified Data Pools around the world. The following table shows the current activities of eight of the most active data pools in the GDSN.

 

GDSN Activity by Data Pool (April 16, 2010)

 

Totals

1SYNC

SA2 Worldsync

GS1 Colombia

Big Hammer

Commport

GS1 Spain

GS1 Australia

GS1 Mexico

Trading Partner GLNs

23,574

8,086

2,105

4,983

889

152

313

1,748

2,504

Retailers

345

201

36

4

7

4

12

24

0

Suppliers

23,229

7,885

2,069

4,979

882

148

301

1,724

2,504

Registered Items (GTINs)

5,171,170

3,851,980

350,308

162,978

243,005

38,866

72,819

219,551

152,735

 

 

To put some context around growth in the use of the GDSN as the method of communicating items aligned using GDSN standards, I spoke with Susie McIntosh-Hinson of the GDSN Inc. division of GS1. She provided this information:

 

GDSN began with about 200 companies and six data pools in 2004. The landscape today shows many positive trends unfolding. The growth in GDSN adoption is being driven from several areas, which are expected to continue to drive exponential growth:

  • Country penetration and expansion is growing. GDSN is now active in over 90 countries, with the number anticipated to continue to increase due to new regions implementing GDSN, as well as early adopters of GDSN focusing on both regional expansion and internal implementation of data quality and business process automation initiatives.
  • Data pools within the network have grown from 6 to 28.
  • Sectors have spanned well beyond CPG to include healthcare, hardlines (product lines primarily consisting of merchandise such as hardware, housewares, automotive, electronics, sporting goods, health and beauty aids, or toys), chemical ingredients, foodservice, and support for mobile commerce trusted data.
  •  As multi-nationals expand to new regions, they can leverage the network to connect to their local/regional manufacturers or distributors.

 

Digging into the Details

With the big picture on GS1 US goals and initiatives defined, it was time to dig into the details. To learn what was going on, I spoke to the leaders of the key focus areas (i.e., The Focus Five) specified by GS1 US CEO Bob Carpenter.

Foodservice

Longtime GS1 US executive Dan Wilkinson is now in charge of helping the foodservice industry adopt GS1 standards. Wilkinson provided the following history, update, and insight relative to this initiative:

 

In October 2009, 55 founding member companies came together to support the voluntary adoption and implementation of GS1 global standards by individual foodservice companies that wanted to achieve complete and accurate data with their trading partners. Here's what they're looking for:

 

  • GS1 Location Identification: Global Location Number (GLN) for unique brand-owner identification
  • GS1 Product Identification: Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) for foodservice products to ensure unique identification of individual products
  • Baseline product information (product attributes):  Aligned product information throughout the supply chain from manufacturer to distributor to operator—to include nutritional, allergens, and ingredient information.
  • Access to standard product information through the GS1 Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN).

 

Industry organizations and founding members of the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative cite three main objectives and industry-wide benefits as a result of companies choosing to adopt and implement GS1 standards:

 

  1. Drive waste out of the foodservice supply chain
  2. Improve product information for customers
  3. Establish a foundation for improving food safety and traceability

 

Within the foodservice industry, GS1 standards have been endorsed by industry associations such as the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), and the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

 

I was intrigued by the incredibly rapid advancement in the foodservice initiative, so I attended the NRA show in Chicago, May 24-25. GS1 held a special meeting for the foodservice initiative at the event, and it was quite an eye-opener. There were nearly 100 director and C-level executives on-site at the meetings, with 20-30 others joining by phone and online meetings. This was an incredible show of support in a very short period of time.

 

For more information about the foodservice initiative, distributors or operators can contact Lance Esposito at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Manufacturers or brand owners can contact Julie McGill at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Healthcare

The following information comes from conversations with GS1 Healthcare US President Dennis Harrison and materials compiled and written by Annette Pomponio, GS1 US Director of Marketing.

 

GS1 Healthcare US was formed in January 2008 to support U.S. healthcare industry goals to improve patient safety and increase supply-chain efficiency through the adoption and implementation of global GS1 standards. Since that time, membership has grown to 125 healthcare organizations representing all areas of the supply chain, including distributors, group purchasing organizations (GPOs), government agencies, healthcare providers, industry associations, manufacturers, pharmacies, and solution providers.

 

Members have established five active workgroups to address important industry supply-chain issues in these areas:

 

  • Product Identification (GTIN)
  • Location Identification (GLN)
  • GDSN Implementation
  • Traceability Adoption
  • Application and Implementation

 

To accelerate wide-scale adoption and implementation, industry-accepted "sunrise" dates were established to standardize location and product identification throughout the U.S. healthcare supply chain. 2010 GLN Sunrise calls for the adoption of GS1 GLNs in lieu of custom account/location numbers to standardize healthcare location information by December 31, 2010. 2012 GTIN Sunrise calls for the adoption of GS1 GTINs in lieu of custom product numbers to standardize healthcare product identification by December 31, 2012. The 2012 GTIN Sunrise initiative also includes the use of the GS1 GDSN to store and communicate the associated product attributes of each GTIN.

 

The industry-wide initiative to adopt GS1 standards for location and product identification will help to ensure that the correct products are delivered to the correct locations at the correct time, creating a safer, more efficient, and less expensive supply chain. Expected benefits include improved order and invoice processing, accurate chargeback and rebate processing, and efficient traceability/recalls.

 

Within the healthcare industry, GS1 standards have been endorsed by many industry associations and key stakeholders, including the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM), Amerinet, Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), Cardinal Health, the Committee for Healthcare eStandards, Inc. (CHeS), the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA), MedAssets, Novation, Sisters of Mercy/Resource Optimization & Innovation (ROi), Premier Inc., Strategic Marketplace Initiative (SMI), University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), and VHA, Inc.

 

Broad support for the GS1 standards initiative in healthcare has been expressed by leading industry participants. A collection of these letters and studies is detailed below.

 

 

Major Data Recipients GDSN Update

As 1SYNC is a leading GDSN data pool, readers can get a good overview of what is going on with key retailers at www.gs1us.org/customers. This site provides a list of key retailers receiving information via the GDSN. Keep in mind that some, not all, data recipients create landing pages that can be found here.

   

From this site, you can also view the letters that key retailers and distributors have sent their suppliers outlining their efforts in GS1 Item Alignment via the GDSN, including Walmart, Sears, Kroger, Lowe's, Bunzl, Wegmans, McLane, SuperValu, Premier, and Acosta.

Going Forward

With new GS1 US Senior Executive Bob Carpenter at the helm, we should expect to continue to see widespread expansion and adoption of the aforementioned initiatives. The objectives he has outlined for the organization (detailed at the beginning of this article) will benefit all GS1 members and the supply chain as a whole.

 

The GS1 Item Alignment initiative via the GDSN is advancing very well worldwide. The evidence is clear, with the number of GLNs in the GDSN increasing by 67 percent and the number of GTINs in the GDSN increasing by 173 percent over a 30-month period. New key industry participants, including foodservice and healthcare, are strong indicators as well.

 

 

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    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.