GS1 Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN)

GDSN stands for Global Data Synchronisation Network – a system which lets trading partners access and exchange product information securely in real-time. To share your product information you need to input your data in a data pool. A data pool is simply a database of standardised product information that manages this information between trading partners via the GDSN. One such data pool is the 1WorldSync data pool which is GDSN-certified. This data pool hosts the Irish service DataSync.ie.


GDSN Explained

Data: the core of GDSN is product data. A datapool is a central database which stores information (master data) about products. GS1 datapools can store over 150 different attributes such as the barcode (GTIN), the description, dimensions and weights, packaging data and so on.

Synchronisation: means that the information is shared. Synchronisation is not a static process; it is an ongoing activity. As and when new products are released and old products updated, your trading partners are notified of the changes to the product data. The aim is to automate this process - not to chase product information lists and specifications and then manually key enter the information.

Global: as the name implies, means the requirements are globally managed - a common set of rules and definitions is applied to how data is represented and how that data is shared. Global management of data is vital. If everybody went off and defined their own data structures and how they should be shared, then companies would be dealing with as many diverse requirements as they have trading partners.

Network: a number of these central databases (data pools) are already established and connected, creating an interconnected network of data repositories. The principle of data pools is that you only have to supply your data once, to a central database and that information is shared globally. The organisation requiring the data only has to access one of the data pools to receive the information. To enable this, the individual data pools are part of a network of data pools established along a core set of standards for data and data exchange of information.

The implementation of the GDSN is monitored and maintained by an independent authority. Development is overseen by GS1 using the Global Standards Management Process (GSMP) and users who participate in that process.

What are GDSN standards?

The GDSN standards are a set of agreed identification keys and product information attributes which can be used by any company regardless of size, industry or location.

The standards mean that different companies use the same names for the same things, which limits the risk of costly mistakes. GDSN makes it possible for suppliers and their trade customers to have the same data about the products they are trading.

Who uses GDSN?

In less than 5 years the number of GDSN users worldwide has grown to over 20,000. There are more than 8 million GTINs stored in the GDSN. Some of the largest retailers, suppliers and food operators in Ireland and around the world use GDSN.

As a supplier, can GDSN help me grow my business?

Yes. Many more retailers are adopting GDSN as their preferred method of exchanging product data which can lead to improved business relationships.

Can I choose who I share my product data with?

Yes. You have complete control over who gets to see your product information.