We think standards make sense for healthcare and for our business. About a decade ago, all of our manufacturing companies were using different numbering systems. The lack of a standard made it confusing and inefficient for us to manage products in the supply chain. We realized that if we were struggling with this problem, our customers probably were too. Cook’s solution was to adopt GS1 standards to simplify the supply chain.
GS1 is an international, not-for-profit association that creates and implements standards to bring efficiency and visibility to supply chains across industries. The GS1 standards for healthcare improve patient safety as well as many aspects of the supply chain. The standards achieve these improvements by assigning products unique numbers called GTINs, by synchronizing supply chain data with the GDSN, and by providing location coding with GLNs.
GTINs (Global Trade
GTINs are unique, global product-identification numbers. GTINs are usually barcoded on product packaging. They identify the manufacturer, the product, and the unit of measure. Cook Medical uses 14-digit GTINs.
GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network)
The GDSN is a subscription-based warehouse of certified data that will enable all members of the healthcare supply chain to share common, accurate GTIN and GLN information.
GLNs (Global Location Numbers)
GLNs are unique, 13-digit global numbers that identify physical locations and legal entities such as IONs.
Why to Use Global Trade Item Numbers
GTINs enable trading partners to communicate in a common language and identify products throughout the supply chain. Without a common language, trading partners use different systems for product identification. Using separate systems to manage products is inefficient, error prone, and costly for everyone. When we use GTINs, patient safety and supply chain efficiency improve.
Improved Supply Chain Efficiency
- Products can be tracked through the entire supply chain.
- Visibility of products in the supply chain improves inventory management.
- Accurate data improves ordering and invoicing accuracy.
- Maintenance of an item-cross-reference database is no longer necessary.
- Products don’t have to be relabeled.
- The cost of care can be captured and tracked.
Improved Patient Safety
- Medication errors are reduced.
- The product-recall process becomes faster and more accurate.
- Patients are protected from counterfeit products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why did Cook Medical implement the GS1 standards?
A: Cook Medical believes that standards make sense for the healthcare industry and our business because these standards improve the healthcare supply chain. Our internal manufacturing and the distribution supply chain benefit from GS1 standards the same way our customers do.
Q: Do I have to use GTINs to order products from Cook Medical?
A: No. Cook Medical products can be ordered either by using GTINs or our proprietary Global Product Numbers (GPNs) or reference part numbers (RPNs).
Q: Do all Cook Medical products have GTINs?
A: Yes, all Cook Medical products have unique GTINs.
Q: How do GS1 standards relate to the new FDA unique device identification (UDI) standards?
A: GS1 standards play an important part in supporting the upcoming UDI requirements.
Q: Where are GTINs used?
A: GTINs are marked on our product packaging labels, invoices, and packing slips.