At last week’s HDMA Traceability Seminar in Washington DC, Serialization Master Data Management was the talk of the day. When companies go down the path of implementing serialization, they quickly realize they have a lot of data cleaning to do. This is especially true to companies with a long history of M&A activities.
In addition to the existing product identifiers such as SKU, NDC, and UPC code, serialization brings a new number called GTIN. GTIN is Global Trade Identification Number. But GTIN is not the only new number. GTIN is the most accepted standards in the world for drug products, but it has its limit. Brazil requires the Medical Registration Number. China uses the Electronic Supervision Code. Within GTIN itself, it’s not always in one uniform standard. GS1 does not operate as a centralized global entity. It runs on a distributed business model with offices in various countries. Each GS1 country office holds the company prefixes that are registered there. Simply put, there is no one GS1 office that can issue all your global GTINs and there is no one centralized GS1 database that can hold all your GTIN data. The business of managing master data is completely in the hands of each individual company.
Master data means one single truth of data. This data enables product authentication for trading partners, dispensers, and government agencies. Without the correct data, a serialized drug product won’t travel very far. That is why the importance of managing serialized master data was echoed by many meeting attendees. In the context of on boarding already very complex serialization project, it is good to see efforts are made to improve and manage master data. It will fundamentally set the serialization operation on the right track for the long run.