EDI standards

Implementing a Global Location Number: GS1 Recommendations

Basic steps to implement the Global Location Number (GLN). The first 5 steps are described in previous post.

5. Assess systems capabilities. Determine where GLN information will be stored in your organisation to ensure it is maintained as accurate and complete. The capability of your information system(s) to contain and utilize GLN numbers must be assessed, and the necessary changes made. The necessity of parallel files between the old location numbers and GLNs must be planned. Understand any potential issues that may be encountered with the adoption of GLNs.

6. Establish implementation strategy. Document how GLNs will be rolled out and how all GLN data will be continuously maintained. Establish a GLN implementation strategy, including a corresponding hierarchal organizational chart, e.g. warehouse system hierarchy; divisional hierarchy. The establishment of your organization’s GLN hierarchy is a critical step in the implementation process. It is necessary to consider not only how business is currently conducted, but also future business processes and supply system possibilities. In order to do that, current and possible distribution and billing systems must be clearly understood. It should be noted that implementation and use of GLNs in healthcare is an ongoing process.

The primary implementation elements are:

  • Governance
    • To ensure allocation and maintenance of these GLNs is accurate and efficient; it is important to have a clear governance process in place. This should: include clear accountability regarding roles and responsibilities
    • Include clearly defined processes regarding the allocation, printing, placement, and on-going maintenance of GLNs
    • The agreed policy/process should be signed off by the relevant person/department, e.g. Quality Control/Clinical Governance.
  • Allocation of GLNs
  • Labelling approach and location priorities / phases etc.
    • Agree on what printing solution to use etc.
    • Printing in batches or print-on-demand
    • Label placement
  • Maintenance. Ongoing maintenance, replacement etc.

7. Allocate GLNs and collect master data. Create a hierarchy of all the locations that will need GLNs and allocate GLNs to them. Detail the master data about the party/location, e.g. name, address, class of trade, which help to ensure that each GLN is specific to one, very precise location, anywhere. The GLN and its associated attributes are then saved in a database (like a GDNS-certified Data Pool or GLN registry) and shared among supply chain partners; for smaller businesses the GLN and master data could be shared in something as simple as an Excel file.

8. Mark physical locations. If GLNs are going to be allocated to physical locations, ensure all locations that are having their GLNs shared with partners are identified and marked before any information is shared. The type of technology to mark has been determined in Stage 4 and 5.

9. Share GLN master data. The goal is to receive your GLN(s) and share your GLN information with your trading partners using agreed tools / registries as agreed and determined in stages 4 and 5.

10. Keep GLN information up to date. Ongoing maintenance of locations identified using GLNs and that these are managed according to governance determined in Stage 6. All systems are kept up to date with any information change and whether any information is archived, or new information added.

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