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What Is a Global Location Number (GLN)?

2021-06-04
5 min read

Learn about:

  • What a Global Location Number is
  • The uses of a GLN
  • Walmart’s requirements for GLNs

A Global Location Number or GLN detects sites and legal bodies. The GS1 Company Prefix, Location Reference, and Check Digit make up this identifier.

GLNs are reference codes that provide connectivity to additional details regarding the company or its geography. GLNs are useful in place of the names and addresses of locations and more suitable when rendering operations automatic. Computers can transmit information to the precise destination without human intervention.

GLNs are essential for identifying geographies and business partners while using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Barcodes can also use them for this purpose or to provide appropriate data for shipping or invoicing.

GS1, a nonprofit organization, configures GLNs and controls their allocation. It applies application guidelines, business instances, and maintenance. 

Uses of a Global Location Number

GLNs find their use in identifying parties to business transactions, functional groups in a business, or actual, tangible “locations” that may deliver, receive, manage, or retain inventories. Some examples of GLN usage are: 

  • Legal entities: complete enterprises; subsidiary companies or departments within an enterprise; healthcare divisions
  • Operational entities: certain divisions within a legal enterprise, like the finance department, purchasing team, hospital pharmacies, or similar
  • Geographical locations: production facilities, distribution hubs, stores, dock doors, bin locations, retail outlets, or others
  • Digital sites: automated or intangible addresses like an EDI gateway or ERP system

The GLN is a vital requirement to use the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) and different e-commerce proceedings. This worldwide identification system of GS1 can help guarantee that the GLN, which is in the form of a barcode or Electronic Product Code (EPC), is the same information present in the similar electronic documents prepared between business entities.

Advantages of a Global Location Number 

There are quite a few benefits of using Global Location Numbers to detect divisions, functional groups, and physical geographies: 

  • The GLN finds its application all over the globe, and it does not require trading partners to allocate proprietary numbers to assure individuality. 
  • Employing a GLN is both money and time-saving because the number moves fast and effectively through the supply chain
  • GLNs are useful for fulfilling business requirements anywhere, ranging from the cargo area to government bases to circuit boards within a router.
  • Businesses may use a GLN for general divisions at one location and uncrewed stations (such as bank ATMs, automated dispensers, and others).
  • With the help of GLNs, companies can determine locations inside and outside their enterprise that is: 
    • Straightforward: GLNs are a simple data type with a fairness check that makes it easy to process and transmit data.
    • Exclusive: No two GLNs are the same.
    • Cross-sector: With the help of GLN, it is easy to identify any site for any organization irrespective of its operations in any part of the world.

The coding for GLNs is in GS1-128, GS1 DataMatrix characters, and EPC-empowered Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for: 

  • Products, for determining the parties associated with the transaction (such as the manufacturer, buyer, and supplier) 
  • Logistics, to determine the participants in the transaction (such as the dispatcher or shipper and the recipient of the order) 
  • Locations (such as point of delivery, place of dispatch, storage site, and others) 

GLNs exclusively determine the place of EPC Information Services (EPCIS)-read events as the base for worldwide perceptibility and identity in the supply chain.

Global Location Numbers versus an in-house system

Any business may develop a unique internal method and system of codification for every location that falls within its area of operation. However, though an in-house approach appears the simplest and quickest course of action, problems arise when information flows both ways between computers of different companies. These problems would range from:

  • Repetition: Multiple business partners might use the same location code for an internal site of their company, thus compromising uniqueness.
  • Complication: Internal codes can have different compositions and formats, making the application programming increasingly complicated and resulting in more expensive changes.
  • Significance: Location codes with information linked to the location in the code configuration itself will become hard to manage as the coding structure develops to add new value.

Are Global Location Numbers permanent? 

A GLN links to a location. If there is any change in the site, those in charge of the GLN must change the corresponding details on the linked records. 

If a GLN is discontinued, it can be valid for a minimum of three years, after which a company may reassign it. Trading partners may use the three years to find all the old location number references and delete them from their files. GS1 must reissue the GLN for reuse.

Walmart Global Location Numbers

Walmart asks its supplier to input a Global Location Number (GLN) within the N1 ST segment element 04 (along with the suitable qualifier in element 03) on all EDI 810s (Invoice) and all invoices without purchase orders. 

This number is available within the N1 ST segment element 04, the N1 BY segment element 04, or the SDQ segment of the EDI 850 (Purchase Order). Additionally, suppliers may find the GLN numbers for all Walmart stores, warehouses, and clubs using AS2 in their GEM mailbox

If you want to apply for a GLN for your business, all you need to do is approach the GS1 organization. After getting your GLN, your business is ready to take on the world of EDI and make the best of the dematerialization of exchanges. 

In the future, with the extensive use of GLNs, it will be easier for businesses to share information, make e-commerce simpler, and boost productivity.

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The SupplyPike Team
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