Codes are unique combinations of digits that enable information to be transferred from one person or machine to another. We have codes for so many things. Products in the supermarket have GTINs, or bar codes. In eCommerce unique product identifiers become even more important, since consumers buy your products based on the digital twin that is presented online.
Not only products have a unique code, but also physical locations like retail stores and distribution centers, the GLN (Global Location Number). So, you can buy a product with a GTIN code at a store with a GLN code. Nowadays, product data is shared increasingly via machine-to-machine communication, which increases the need to be very specific and not confusing. eCommerce platforms constantly need the latest data and images and robots in fully automated distribution centers heavily rely on correct data to load and unload trucks.
Let’s look at that Coca-Cola Zero bottle again. The brand name Coca-Cola means different things at different levels:
As a result, there is no clear answer to the question: ‘What is our last year’s revenue for all Coca-Cola products?’ Plus the brand name can be spelled differently in different systems, like for example: 7Up, Seven-Up, 7-Up, Seven Up or SevenUp.
Brands are not as unique as you might think
While Coca-Cola is a globally unique brand name, many other brands are not that lucky. The Lotus brand, for example, can be referring to many different product brands and can even refer to a retail brand.
And we haven’t even mentioned spelling errors. What does it take for machines to communicate efficiently with other machines around products? The answer is ‘a code that uniquely defines brands and the brand hierarchy (brand owner, sub brand)’. This is why we at SyncForce developed this unique identifier for brands, called GBIN (Global Brand Identification Number). GBINs consist of 9 digits and a checksum digit. Each code can have one formal brand name (like 7Up) and several additional brand synonyms (7 Up, Seven-Up, 7-Up, Seven Up or SevenUp).
Since we opened GBIN.info as a central repository, over 7500 brands have been registered. This new, global standard for brand identification opens a whole new world of opportunities for data to be shared more efficiently and effectively between your internal systems and with your trade partners.
As a matter of fact, at SyncForce we are working together with Capgemini and the Consumer Goods Forum on new ways to exchange data in a federated way where GBIN will be one of the key identifiers. Read more on this Dataports initiative: DataPort Action Paper