6. Share Your Information Electronically

You can share your product and location information electronically with your trading partners. Electronic data sharing has many benefits, including reducing communication errors, increasing the speed of trade transactions, and ensuring real-time product information updates. There are two main ways to share:

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
You may be asked by a trading partner to transact using Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI. EDI enables the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents, such as purchase orders, advance ship notices, and invoices, between companies using a standard format, regardless of the kind of computer or software each company is using. EDI “bridges the gap” between companies and systems, and uses standardized business messages to enable trading partners to communicate in a common language. EDI helps companies conduct electronic commerce efficiently and accurately.

As an example, with EDI, a company’s computer system can generate and transmit a purchase order to a supplier and receive a computer-generated confirmation of receipt from the supplier’s system in a matter of minutes—not days. EDI has helped thousands of companies achieve significant operational savings through process improvements to normal business operations, such as order, delivery, invoice, payment, warehouse, and inventory processes.


Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN)
The Global Data Synchronization Network, or GDSN, is the electronic transfer of standardized product information between trading partners, and the continuous synchronization of that information over time. The GDSN ensures all partners have access to the same, accurate information. It’s all about product master data, which includes product attributes such as weights, descriptions, brand name, product information, GTIN, and manufacturer information. Trading partners only need one connection to send and/or receive product information. By being continuous, trading partners can share accurate and up-to-date product information. For example, once a product's information is synchronized, any changes made to it are automatically and immediately provided to downstream trading partners using the network.

You can share your product data using GDSN through data pools, companies that manage the exchange of product data between trading partners. Different data pools specialize in different industries, so it’s best to ask some qualifying questions before choosing one.


Package Measurement Rules
Accurately measuring your products can improve trucking efficiency, increase new product speed-to-market, and improve relationships with your customers. Even a small error or misunderstanding in package measurement can be compounded at the pallet level, resulting in rejected shipments, costs to correct errors, catalog discrepancies and lost sales. When all trading partners follow the same rules the chances for errors are much reduced.

These rules are called the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) Package Measurement Rules. They ensure that trading partners share a common understanding of package measurements across the world, and play an important role in communicating product master data electronically between trading partners.

The measurement process itself is not difficult. The main issue is awareness, understanding, and proper application of the rules, so let’s get started with some basics:

The GDSN Package Measurement Rules establish two distinct types of trade items: consumer trade items and non-consumer trade items. Each one has its own set of measurement rules based on specific criteria, as well as specific rules to deal with exceptions.

Consumer Trade Items are items that are sold at point of sale (at checkout) and are marked with a point of sale barcode, typically the UPC-A.

  1. Your first step is to identify the “default front,” which can often be different from how the product is displayed by a retailer. It’s usually the side that has the promotional copy, like the product name, on it. If more than one side has promotional copy, then the default front would be the side with the largest or highest surface area. For the majority of trade items, determining the default front is easy; however rules exist to address specific exceptions.
  2. Next, identify the right orientation in which to measure the product. The direction of the text elements on the default front determines the orientation.
  3. Last, measure the product using height, width and depth.

Non-Consumer Trade Items are items that do not pass through point-of-sale and instead pass through warehouses and distribution centers, such as cases or pallets. They are typically marked with GS1-128 or ITF-14 barcodes.

  1. Your first step is to determine the “natural base” of the item. Typically this is the natural underside of the trade item, but if there are graphics indicating a top or bottom orientation, the marked bottom is the natural base. Determining the Natural Base is usually easy; however additional rules exist to address specific exceptions.
  2. Second, measure the product using height, width and depth.

Note: If your package is marked with both consumer and non-consumer trade item barcodes, follow the rules for a Consumer Trade Item.


Industry-Specific Implementation Resources

Next Steps