By: Sandi Michel, MPM, ITIL, LSSBB
FMOLHS Director of The Office of Data Standards & Interoperability
When FMOLHS chose a partner for our first pilot implementing GS1 US Data Standards, we immediately thought of Cook Medical. The Cook Medical journey to adopting GS1 US Data Standards began in 1999 and continuously progressed for over a decade. Since 2012, Cook Medical has published attributes to the GDSN and for quite some time, had been ready for transacting with Providers using GTINs. With the Cook Medical single customer interface, it made it possible for FMOLHS to look to the future end state where we would have access to the GDSN and could complete these seamless tractions with real time updates.
In February of 2014, FMOLHS gathered a large team of manufacturers, technology partners, advisory organizations, regulatory bodies, and other healthcare systems together to enhance and complete the draft documents developed prior to the kick-off meeting. We used PMI and Lean Six Sigma Methodologies to remain organized and on track as we continued to build these tools.
We selected 7 progressive manufacturers who had the insight and wherewithal to comply with regulatory requirements and implement GS1 US Data Standards within their companies and had GTINs assigned to all of their products. We selected 1 manufacturer as our first pilot test for our program; Cook Medical was ready and willing to work with us throughout the entire process.
Cook Medical was present and proactive before, during and after our kick-off meeting, helping and guiding FMOLHS with every step of the way to identify our technical needs, to capture and use GLNs and GTINs to transact using EDI within Supply Chain, and to do what had never been done before, to build the Master Project Plan, Master Network Diagram, and Master Process Document for all US Healthcare Providers to use.
We cleansed our data; we traded GLN information and set up both company’s GLNs in our ERP systems to transact using EDI. We received GTINs from Cook Medical and uploaded them into our Lawson ERP System. We wrote processes to remove manual steps from our buyer’s daily routine to review and manually release purchase orders. Since the GTIN came directly from Cook Medical and was uploaded in our ERP, we removed the chance for data matching errors.
The purchase orders were automatically released to Cook Medical for fulfillment. The requestor received the product from inventory. The ASN contained the data needed for scanning upon delivery. Inventory was replenished. The invoice was matched and released for automatic payment. The payment was sent to Cook Medical automatically. We tested and documented every step, every process, every system change and every lesson learned. The lessons learned from out FMOLHS-Cook Medical Pilot were used as we launched each of the remaining 6 pilots. Together we built a sound foundation for implementing GS1 US Data Standards to serve our own new Central Distribution Center soon to open in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The work Cook Medical and FMOLHS have done has been shared across the US Healthcare Industry to help other Healthcare Providers launch their GS1 US Data Standards projects within their organizations.