Use GLNs to identify:
Physical locations - a site (an area, a structure or group of structures) or an area within the site where something was, is, or will be located
Digital locations - a digital location represents an electronic (non-physical) address that is used for communication between computer systems
Legal entities – any business, government body, department, charity, individual or institution that has standing in the eyes of the law and has the capacity to enter into agreements or contracts
Functions – an organisational subdivision or department based on the specific tasks being performed, as defined by the organisation
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
The use of automatic electronic business messages ideally incorporates the use of GLNs to identify all the trading partners and all the locations involved. The mailbox or network addresses for the companies will also be identified with GLNs.
The GS1 electronic business messaging standards - GS1 EANCOM, GS1 XML and EPCIS – make full use of GLNs to simplify their use.
The GLNs and the associated information are communicated once at the beginning of the trading relationship.
Data pools and the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN)
The National Product Catalogue and the Global Registry that links it to other data pools in the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) are used to record information about all the products being traded and the GTINs that are used to identify them. Each party that provides information to any data pool, or who requires information about products and locations, must be identified with a GLN.
GLNs in barcodes and RFID
GLNs can be encoded in GS1 barcodes and EPC/RFID tags when necessary, for example to identify delivery points, areas within a hospital or warehouse locations. The use of the GS1 application identifiers with GS1 barcodes ensures that the data shown in these barcodes is processed correctly. The application identifiers that may be used with GLNS are set out below:
Application Identifier (AI)
Type of Global Location Number (GLN) being identified
Ship to - deliver to GLN
Bill to - invoice to GLN
Purchased from GLN
Ship for - deliver for - forward to GLN
Identification of physical location
Production or service location
GLNs in Traceability
The ISO definition of traceability concerns the ability to trace the history, application and location of that which is under consideration, and for products this can include the origin of materials and parts, the processing history and the distribution and location of the product after delivery. Traceability includes not only the principal requirement to physically trace products through the distribution chain, from origin to destination and vice versa, but also to provide information on what they are made of and what has happened to them. These further aspects of traceability are important in relation to food safety, quality and labelling.
The ability to uniquely identify the locations in which products have been born, processed or stored, as well as returned, consumed or destroyed becomes foundational to recording the history of a product. GLNs are the globally recognised identifier for this very purpose, across a range of industries including Food, Healthcare, Liquor, CPG, Retail, Freight and Logistics and many others.
Read more on Traceability