Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), EDI Retail, EDI Logistics and supply chain, EDI in the Automotive Industry, EDI Healthcare

What is the GLN (Global Location Number) and what is it for?

GLN (Global Location Number)

The GLN (Global Location Number) is a global code that identifies a location, in other words, an electronic address. The information associated with the GLN is the company name, tax ID and codes, location, type of premises, address, telephone, e-mail, contact persons, billing information, etc…

Use of the GLN is key in any exchange of information within the supply chain and is the first step in communicating via electronic data interchange with trading partners.

It is a great advantage, simplifying business relationships and corporate logistics. The aim is to be able to identify a location uniquely and unambiguously.

All businesses exchange information, either in-house or externally. Orders, despatch advices and delivery notes, invoices and logistic labelling. To unify these exchanges and quickly identify the partners, an "electronic reference" can be attributed to the companies. This reference is the GLN (Global Location Number).

The GS1 standard specifies that each company must create a set of location numbers to identify all physical locations, legal entities or administrative structures involved in its business transactions.


Electronic communications carry the data on the purchase and sale of products and services. Each company and trade item sold bears its associated GS1 code, which also accompanies communications for proper identification. These codes are necessary to transmit all commercial information and through EDI this is achieved safely and without errors.

The GLN is essential for the identification of trading and logistic transactions. It enables you to identify different locations such as a warehouse, a loading dock, a section or a specific department. This way, the parties in a business relationship are assured that their transactions have taken place between the correct partners and with no risk of error.

Each company taking part in a communication via EDI must first be identified with a GLN code. The GLN code goes along with the structured information of the EDI message and avoids the duplication of locations, as each partner has its own identifier.

The GLN code can also be used for communications within a company.

How to get a GLN?

GS1 International is the non-profit business association whose aims are focused on harmonizing the value chain in all industrial sectors through global solutions. GS1 came into being in 2005 as the result of merger between the EAN (European Article Number) and the UCC (Uniform Code Council).

It manages and develops product coding and symbology standards. This provides the market with a common language for trading and stocking of products worldwide. These data are sent in the commercial documentation (invoices, orders, despatch advices, delivery notes, etc.) and are crucial to ensure the smooth running of provisioning processes.

GS1 manages several types of coding: barcodes, GLN and GTIN (product identifiers).

In the supply chain, fluid communication between all those involved is essential if the product is to reach the end customer in good time.

Thanks to the use of bar codes and standardized information, the identification of products and their subsequent distribution takes place unequivocally, safely and quickly.

Using these standards, it is also possible to track the movements of goods and know their location and status at all times. Each item is linked with its own unique identification so that it can be easily located at any time in the supply chain.

Knowing the status of the goods from the moment they are shipped, during transport and until their delivery is valuable information that enhances customer service.

Any company can apply for its GLN from its own country’s GS1 organization. Once you have your GLN, your company is ready to step into the world of EDI and take advantage of the dematerialization of exchanges. Now, all you need to do is choose a provider able to adapt to your business model with a specific solution for your GLNs. Join the GLN system and take your company into EDI world with EDICOM.

Learn more about the potential benefits for your company

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