The label is the proxy for the product and when a product is not labeled correctly, that’s not good. It’s also possible for you to label your product with a GS1-compliant label and . . . use the wrong one (yet use it the right way), often due to simple human error. It’s a mistake — and an expense — that’s more likely than you think. It’s important to automate the business logic to guarantee the right label showing up to the right printer to go on the right product.
Larger medical companies get what I would call an odd side-effect of the GS1 labeling standards. I define ”larger” as those firms that tend to have multiple business units at multiple locations, either because at some point they bought another product line or company or because they expanded and then also have some form of internal product distribution system (i.e., they have some supply-chain logistics capacity internally). The multiple business unit scenario is common enough. It also produces a complication for your GS1 labeling and you need to proceed cautiously, because serious money is involved.
First off, each location needs a GLN and each product shipped from that GLN needs its own GTIN. Now since, in healthcare and other regulated industries, the label itself is legally part of the product, the same product, with different labels (say one in French and one in English/French) will need unique GTINs for the product. Note, though, the GTIN is *really* for the label, not the product (the product changed because of the label).
So far so good? Okay, now let’s ship something from company business unit location #1 (CBU1) in, say, Topeka, Kansas, USA, to a distribution center in, say, Australia (CBU2). Now, it gets picked for an order placed in Japan. Obviously, a new label gets generated to ship it to Japan but also a new product label with the Japanese GTIN for the product also needs to be created. The GLN may or may not have changed.
This is where you need business logic in your labeling: the GLN changes if the overall company recognizes the movement of goods from the CBU1 to CBU2 as a inter-company billable transaction. If not, then the GLN remains for CBU1. If so, then the GLN should be for CBU2.
This business logic for the creation of the label is required because, if the company has completely adopted GS1 labeling, payment for the product should go back to the GLN designated for the product. This is why systems that implement GS1 compliant labeling need to have business logic controls and filters in place for labels. And, in fact, as you will see with other scenarios I plan to bring up, you probably want business logic filters applied to the data going on every GS1 label you produce.
You want to make sure you have the right label on the right product at the right time. You probably want to automate as much of that as possible, given how many variables arise and how easy it is to make a mistake. Oh, and because the person applying the label is not going to be a “knowledge worker”, if you catch my drift.