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This page is meant for companies that are about to start the implementation of GS1 EDI standards. It will help identify what needs to be done to successfully implement and benefit from GS1 EDI.
GS1 EDI standards support a variety of supply chain business processes: from Order, through Deliver to Payment. For each of these processes, different set of messages are needed.
Therefore, before you start any GS1 EDI implementation, you need to answer the following questions:
GS1 EDI standards provide solutions for multiple sectors using the same GS1 EDI message. This is achieved through profiles applied to general GS1 EDI messages, for example food industry, entertainment, office supply or textile. Therefore, sector specifics should also be taken into account during the business process analysis.
In addition, in some countries user groups create message profiles, reflecting regional practices of implementing GS1 EDI in specific sectors and business processes (see Step 7).
This is crucial for the successful implementation, as the management needs to make available the necessary human and financial resources.
The management needs to have a basic understanding of the principles and benefits of GS1 EDI. They have to be aware that the GS1 EDI implementation can help to improve trading partners service and their satisfaction, enhance the efficiency of the supply chain, cut costs and optimise inventories.
Get into contact with the local GS1 Member Organisation. Most of them have dedicated experts for specific technical areas, also for GS1 EDI. Check who will be your main GS1 EDI contact.
The contact point for the user companies seeking support in implementation of standards is always the local GS1 Member Organisation. If the local experts are not able to help directly, they have an access to the global network of GS1 EDI experts from other GS1 Member Organisations and user companies. GS1 has more than 100 local Member Organisations, serving over a million companies in over 140 countries.
Companies from the countries, where no GS1 Member Organisation has been set up yet, can contact directly the GS1 Global office.
The GS1 Identification Keys are used in all GS1 standards, both in physical flow of goods e.g. encoded in bar codes and in information flow of business data. Without them it is not possible to use the GS1 EDI standards.
The GS1 Identification Keys are created using a GS1 Company Prefix that can be obtained from the GS1 Member Organisation in your country.
The following GS1 Identification Keys that are created using the same GS1 Company Prefix:
If you are not sure whether your company is a GS1 member and already has a GS1 Company Prefix, you can contact the local GS1 Member Organisation to find out who is the GS1 contact person in your company.
GS1 provides a wide range of educational material related to the GS1 EDI standards. Most of them, including on-line training courses, are available via your local GS1 Member Organisations. They also organise classroom training courses in local language.
GS1 provides two sets of GS1 EDI standards:
To new GS1 EDI users GS1 recommends GS1 XML, but if your trading partners are already GS1 EANCOM® users, you may be asked to follow their standard of choice.
GS1 EANCOM® has a large user base around the world that needs to be taken into consideration when selecting the set of GS1 EDI standard. Please note that GS1 will support and maintain GS1 EANCOM® standard for the foreseeable future.
A number GS1 Member Organisations work with their user companies to create profiles of the GS1 EDI standard messages adapted to specific sectors in their countries, e.g. for DIY sector in the Netherlands.
Profiles are subsets of messages fully compatible with the ‘general’ standards. They are adapted to the needs of the target user groups, e.g. by choosing only certain optional message components. The documentation of these profiles often contains recommendations for implementing them in the specific sectors or user groups, therefore they are frequently referred to as Message Implementation Guidelines (MIGs).
User groups can create such profiles at the international level for their sector, e.g. the Upstream group developing GS1 standards for supply chain integration between manufacturers and their suppliers.
There are also Implementation Guidelines for general GS1 EDI implementation.
The best way to check what kind of documentation is already in place for your sector / country / technology of choice is to contact the local GS1 Member Organisation.
The GS1 EDI standards are developed based on real user requirements and reviewed by the user companies, so they cover all or most information that needs to be exchanged with trading partners. However, if there are any gaps between the user requirements and the data covered by the messages provided, the standards need to be updated accordingly.
It is very important to take note that the business terms used by your company and GS1 may be different, while semantically the content of data elements is identical. Therefore, the comparison should be made between data definitions, rather then just business terms.
The GS1 data definitions can be found in the Global Data Dictionary (GDD) documentation of messages.
If you identity gaps between your data needs and those covered by GS1 messages, you need to submit the Change Request (CR) to the GS1 Global Standard Management Process (GSMP), to amend the message or request development of a new message. The Change Request can be submitted directly on the GSMP website but we advise to contact your local GS1 Member Organisation to get help in submitting and managing the Change Request.
If the change needs to be introduced to a local (MIG), than a Change Request should be submitted to the local GS1 Member Organisation, who will identify the user working group to deal with that requirement.
Master data alignment is a necessary step of GS1 EDI implementation, because the master data are not repeated in the transactional messages, but simply referenced by the standard identification keys. For example, the name and address of the buyer and seller are not mentioned in the Order or Despatch Advice, but simply referenced as Buyer and Seller Global Location Numbers (GLN).
This approach allows to remove redundant data from transactional messages, ensures efficient processing and brings considerable cost savings, also by integrating the electronic transfer of data with the physical flow of goods.
GS1 provides standards for exchange of master data. There are three main ways of sharing the master data:
Before the exchange of GS1 EDI messages can start, certain technical preparations must be made.
These templates cover general business situations and can be adapted to the specific needs of your company.
Many GS1 Member Organisations offer various services related to GS1 EDI implementation, e.g. testing of messages, certification, GS1 EDI infrastructure for transferring small number of messages, etc. Getting acquainted with these services will help in your implementation.
When the results of all the tests are positive, you are ready to start exchanging messages and enjoy the benefits of GS1 EDI.