Tag Archives: gs1

Enhance the Effectiveness of Your Supply Chain with Clean Data

By Shon Wettstein, Vice President of Business Development and Product Management

Clean data could be defined as accurate catalog fields that reduce transactional discrepancies, promote in-depth organizational reporting and assist in the implementation of standardized product categories across your enterprise. Clean data is always a work in progress, not just an outcome. So what are some of the main issues or problems around “item enhancement,” and data cleansing in your item master? And why is it so important? 

Who benefits from high quality item master data? The answer is…EVERYONE! The benefits of high quality data are nearly endless. From scheduling cases to prepping cases to usage and documentation, to purchase order processing and transport, to payment process and transport, all the way downstream to the most important benefactor – the patient.

Every single day the healthcare supply chain wastes 24-30 percent of supply administration time on data cleansing and corrections, costing the healthcare industry billions of dollars. What can be done?

Adopting GS1 standards for healthcare is a first step. GS1 is the primary organization that also defines the standards for the UPC that you see on all retail products. The major elements of the GS1 standards are the 3 Gs which help in the identification, locations and data attribute accuracy of products in the supply chain.

By having a unique product number for every item, it will allow for the free flow of products and associated information from the point of manufacture to the point of use. Key elements of this also include unique markings that allow for the easy capture of information on the product and the sharing of that information throughout the supply chain.

How can you further begin to build a framework for item master efficiency? First, establish data governance. Make sure that item master files have consistent established rules regulated by a few within the organization. You should also be managing data at all points of entry, whether coming internally from supply chain or the stakeholder. Also, establish a consistent process and procedure in areas of requisitioning, order fulfillment, purchasing and accounts payable, and identify opportunities to collaborate with other departments that are using supply chain data, such as surgery system, patient charging system, etc.

Next, you should develop basic item master policies that include things such as product series consistency, units of measure, descriptions, etc. Adhere to the policies, and track the exceptions.

In conclusion, the item master is your organization’s information source for some of the most important supply chain activities – procurement, charge master comparison and/or linking, data standardization and value analysis. If this data is disorganized and contains errors, then it will be very difficult to improve operations and control costs in your facility. Maintaining your item master will help you use the right products that not only drive cost containment but provide quality care and improve patient outcomes.

Read our full article Item Master Efficiency and Clean Data. By leveraging industry standard data sources such as GUDID, GDSN and First DataBank, Intalere OptiMIM Advantage combines data to a single trusted source that will improve operational efficiencies and reduce financial, safety, regulatory and product risk. Intalere OptiMIM Advantage also enables the supply chain to more efficiently leverage data to perform analytics of supply items to reduce supply costs, increase procure-to-pay (P2P) efficiencies, and improve integration and accuracy on point-of-use capture. Contact Intalere to learn more.

5 Steps to Supply Chain Efficiency Step 4: Support and Implement GS1 Data Standards

We’re nearing the end of our conversation on how to achieve supply efficiency in five easy steps:

  1. Maximize your Materials Management Information System
  2. Enhance your Database
  3. Automate your Connectivity to your Suppliers
  4. Support and Implement GS1 Data Standards
  5. Utilize Advanced Data Analytics and Information.

Today we’ll dig deeper into Step 4: Support and Implement GS1 Data Standards. As a member of GS1, Intalere is a leader in implementing the GS1 standards for common location (GLN) and product (GTIN) identifiers with the goal of improving patient safety and driving costs out of the supply chain. GS1 standards are important because these will build a more effective infrastructure that is essential to deliver both efficiency and effectiveness in the supply chain.

Successful, industry-wide adoption of the GS1 standards will require cooperation across the healthcare supply chain. It is critical for all healthcare providers to jump on board to support and implement GS1 standards within their organizations to propel the industry forward to greater efficiency.  This is the only way that Suppliers will get the message that their investments in the standards will have an immediate payoff in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Here’s how you can get started:

  • Review your GLNs and ensure these numbers are an accurate reflection of all your Shipping locations. Intalere took the first step by proactively funding and obtaining Global Location Numbers (GLNs) for its members. But the second step requires providers to validate the information and reconcile any discrepancies. GLNs must have proper alignment with the daily operations of the organization – and only the organization itself can know and manage that correctly.
  • Work with suppliers to reconcile and begin using GLNs. The benefits of GLNs may begin with purchase orders (POs), but it transcends to align the provider’s relationship with its distributers and GPOs and even the manufacturer’s relationship with distributors and GPOs. Start out small by first testing your GLN trading process with your primary distributors; then move to high volume manufacturers.
  • Work with your MMIS solution providers to prepare to implement GTINs. As manufacturers mark their products with the applicable GTIN in order to support supply chain partners in accurately identifying products, providers need to be prepared to support these numbers in your IT system.  Providers will want to ascertain that the MMIS systems not only contain the relevant GTIN and GLN fields, but also that these fields can be actively used in various applications and transactions such as EDI, and scanning products at receipt, distribution and ultimately at the patient bedside.  One very important consideration is the need for systems to be able to track multiple GTIN’s per item, as each level of packaging must have a unique GTIN.
  • In this way, GTINs will have an important benefit to public health and patient safety, including reducing medical errors, facilitating recalls, and improving prescription drug administration.

In the end, the work your organization puts into GS1 standards will be well worth it.  So much efficiency will be gained by not having to maintain different account numbers with various suppliers. The ultimate outcome is more accurate price loads between parties since GPO contract pricing gets easily lost in the system links between the provider, the distributor and the manufacturer.  Receiving accurate pricing for all of the facilities within your hierarchy is a key factor to deliver more cost-effective pricing to healthcare organizations.

If you missed our past blog posts, find more details about Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3.

In our final post, we’ll take a look at how to utilize advanced data analytics and information to achieve supply chain efficiency.


Intalere takes an active role in identifying realistic and actionable opportunities for contract savings and product standardization within our members’ facilities. From assessment and strategic expense reduction to on-site contract utilization management and operational benchmarking, Intalere’s unparalleled depth in supply chain management strategies help to maximize your organization’s operating margins.​​​​​​​​Call Intalere at 877-711-5600 to learn more about our Supply Chain Solutions.