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What Is a Global Location Number?

Each global number has 13 digits and follows a standard code, making it easy to understand.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 01 August 2014
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A global location number (GLN) is a unique numeric code that provides universally accessible information about the locations of physical objects as well as entities like bank accounts or personnel. It is part of a set of international standards established by GS1, an organization that promotes the use of global standards for business communications to make it easier for companies of all sizes to do business on an international platform. Each global location number has 13 digits and follows a standard code, allowing anyone who knows the system to read it.

The first seven digits indicate the company, while the next five provide information about the location referenced by the number. Finally, the global location number also includes a 13th check digit for the purpose of verification. The global location number can go on business cards, packaging, labels, statements, and other business communications for easy reference by business and trade partners. It typically appears with the first 12 digits strung together and check digit offset to make sure people know it is not part of the code.

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In the case of a physical location, a global location can indicate a specific office within a company, a particular building, or another location. Global location numbers can also reference entities within a company, like departments. The global identification number might, for example, indicate that a statement comes from the accounts payable department. Individuals can also have their own global location numbers. Bank accounts and records can also have location numbers to make them easier to find and reference.

On documents, this code can serve as a quick reference to provide information about where the document comes from and where to direct any responses or correspondence. The global location number for a person will remain consistent even if the individual changes offices or positions. This can be useful for continuity when people want to stay in communication with the same person while working on a project.

Global location numbers can also be useful for tracking goods. The number can provide information about the location of inventory and other objects. This can be helpful with inventory tracking in warehouses and stores, where people need to know how many objects they have and where they are located. Identifier references can be as precise as individual shelves in a warehouse, allowing personnel to determine exactly where an item is by looking at the global location number.

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