GDSN Review

Image representing the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN)

In the ever-evolving landscape of data exchange within the global supply chain, the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) stands as a pivotal enabler of efficient, accurate, and synchronized information flow. As we delve into this GDSN review, we embark on a journey through its intricate web of standardized processes and collaborative data pools, exploring its profound impact on industries spanning retail, healthcare, and manufacturing. In this comprehensive examination, we uncover the critical role GDSN plays in streamlining information exchange, reducing errors, and bolstering transparency, ultimately redefining the way businesses connect, share, and thrive in today’s interconnected world.

What is GDSN?

What is GDSN? Global Data Synchronization Network is a data pool that incorporates vital information on products and allows business people around the globe to efficiently distribute these precise details. It mainly operates on the internet and in the confines of the GS1 standards.

Users of the GDSN:

GDSN is designed to cater to a wide range of users across different industries. The following are some key categories of users who can benefit from utilizing GDSN:

  • Manufacturers and Suppliers: These entities are responsible for creating and producing products. They can use GDSN to share standardized and accurate product information, including attributes like descriptions, specifications, images, and packaging details. By doing so, they enable their trading partners to access consistent data for procurement and sales.
  • Distributors and Wholesalers: These intermediaries play a crucial role in getting products from manufacturers to retailers or end consumers. GDSN helps distributors and wholesalers by providing them with reliable and current product data, enabling them to manage their inventory efficiently and accurately fulfill orders.
  • Retailers: Retailers benefit from GDSN by receiving accurate and consistent product information that can be used for listing products on their shelves or online platforms. This leads to improved customer experiences, reduced errors, and better supply chain visibility.
  • Healthcare Industry: In the healthcare sector, GDSN is used to exchange accurate and standardized information about medical products, such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices. This ensures patient safety, regulatory compliance, and efficient procurement processes.
  • Food and Beverage Industry: GDSN is also extensively used in the food and beverage industry to share product information, including allergen details, nutritional information, and origin details. This information is crucial for complying with labeling regulations and ensuring consumer safety.
  • Government and Regulatory Bodies: Regulatory authorities can use GDSN to monitor and enforce compliance with product standards and regulations. Accurate and consistent data exchange through GDSN contributes to transparent and traceable supply chains.

Ease of Use for Customers

The connection within the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) can be characterized by a balance of complexity and simplicity. On one hand, GDSN aims to standardize and simplify the exchange of product data across the supply chain by using a common set of data standards and protocols. This simplification can enhance data accuracy and streamline data sharing processes among trading partners. However, the implementation and integration of GDSN within a business’s existing systems and processes can sometimes be complex, requiring careful planning and adherence to data standards. Therefore, while GDSN simplifies the way data is exchanged, the complexity may lie in effectively integrating it into an organization’s operations to fully realize its benefits.

How GDSN works

The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) is a standardized platform that enables accurate product information exchange among supply chain partners. Certified Data Pool Providers act as central hubs for data sharing, allowing businesses to manage and sync their data efficiently.

GDSN relies on GS1-established data standards for products, encompassing attributes like names, dimensions, pricing, and more. Businesses align their internal data with these standards to ensure uniformity.

Trading partners start by entering data into chosen data pools and organizing it into catalogs for specific partners. Subscribers receive updates when shared data changes. Data Pool Providers validate entries to maintain accuracy.

Changes in product data trigger automatic real-time synchronization across the network, ensuring partners access current, reliable information and reducing disruptions.

GDSN’s real-time operation benefits industries with dynamic product data. Automation reduces manual work and errors.

By offering a standardized exchange platform, GDSN fosters collaboration, improving efficiency and communication. Industry-specific adaptations are possible while maintaining the standardized framework.

GDSN benefits and challenges

The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) offers a range of advantages for businesses and the supply chain ecosystem:

  • Data Accuracy: GDSN ensures that product data is consistent, accurate, and up-to-date, reducing errors and misinformation.
  • Efficiency: Automation of data exchange speeds up processes, minimizes manual data entry, and reduces administrative overhead.
  • Collaboration: Trading partners can seamlessly share standardized data, fostering better communication and collaboration along the supply chain.
  • Compliance: GDSN helps businesses adhere to regulatory and industry standards by ensuring accurate data is available and accessible.
  • Decision-Making: Reliable product information empowers informed decision-making, leading to better choices for inventory management, marketing, and procurement.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Accurate data ensures that customers receive what they expect, enhancing trust and satisfaction.

Challenges of GDSN

  • Data Quality: Maintaining consistently high-quality data across the supply chain can be challenging, requiring continuous monitoring and updates.
  • Integration Complexity: Integrating GDSN into existing systems and workflows can be technically complex and time-consuming.
  • Cost: Implementing and maintaining GDSN connectivity, including software, training, and resources, can be expensive.
  • Change Management: Transitioning to GDSN might require changes to established processes, which can face resistance from employees and partners.
  • Learning Curve: Adapting to new data standards and GDSN processes might involve a learning curve for businesses unfamiliar with the system.
  • Data Security: Sharing product data through external networks raises concerns about data security and privacy.

How to connect to the GDSN

Connecting to the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) involves a series of steps to ensure that you can exchange accurate and standardized product information with your trading partners. GDSN is designed to enable businesses to share and synchronize product data across the supply chain. Here’s a general outline of the process:

  1. Choose a Data Pool Provider:

GDSN operates through various certified Data Pool Providers. You need to select a provider that suits your organization’s needs. Some well-known providers include 1WorldSync, GS1 Global Data Hub, and Syndigo.

What is a data pool?:A data pool is a central storage place for data where trading partners can upload, maintain, and exchange information about products in a standardized format – a vital support for anyone involved in product launches, both on the seller and buyer side.

  1. Register and Obtain GS1 Company Prefix:

To participate in the GDSN, you need a unique GS1 Company Prefix. This prefix identifies your company and the products you manage. You can obtain this through your local GS1 organization.

  1. Set Up Your Internal Systems:

Ensure your internal systems are capable of generating and managing GDSN-compliant product data. This involves mapping your existing data to the GDSN attributes and standards.

  1. Access the Data Pool:

Sign up with the chosen Data Pool Provider and access their system. This is where you’ll create and manage your product data.

  1. Enter and Validate Product Data:

Enter your product information into the Data Pool using the GDSN attributes. This might include details like product name, description, dimensions, packaging, and more. The Data Pool will usually provide validation checks to ensure your data meets GDSN requirements.

  1. Create and Manage Data Catalogs:

Organize your product data into data catalogs. These catalogs define the subset of data you want to share with specific trading partners.

  1. Manage Data Subscriptions:

Trading partners typically subscribe to your data catalogs to receive updates. You’ll need to manage these subscriptions and ensure your data is accurate and up-to-date.

  1. Data Synchronization:

Your trading partners also provide their data to the Data Pool. The Data Pool acts as a central hub where data from various companies is synchronized. This ensures that all parties have access to accurate and consistent information.

  1. Testing and Validation:

Before going live, test the data exchange with a few trading partners to ensure that your data is being transmitted and received correctly.

  1. Go Live:

Once you’ve successfully tested the data exchange and resolved any issues, you can start sharing your product information with all your trading partners.

  1. Continuous Data Maintenance:

Maintain your data regularly by updating it as products change, new products are introduced, or existing products are phased out.


GDSN, or the Global Data Synchronization Network, is a globally standardized system enabling businesses to efficiently exchange accurate and synchronized product information with their partners across various industries. It operates through a network of data pools, ensuring consistency and reducing errors in data sharing, ultimately improving efficiency and collaboration throughout the supply chain. GDSN plays a pivotal role in streamlining data exchange across sectors like retail, healthcare, and manufacturing by providing a common framework and data standards.