Frequently Asked Questions
2023 Food & Beverage Open Data Challenge
Do you work in the food & beverage sector? Join us in building and opening up the largest cross-commodity supply chain database available. Share your data in OS Hub by the end of the year to meet our 2023 Challenge. Register for this webinar to get started.
About Open Supply Hub
All the data in OS Hub, including OS IDs, is open and licensed under the Creative Commons Sharealike 4.0 license.
OS Hub is not a member organization or a multi-stakeholder initiative. We are a non-profit organization, running an open data tool that stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to upload data to and make use of.
If you have feedback about a specific facility or piece of data in OS Hub, please use the Report flag on that facility profile to share it. You can also email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, we're always looking for opportunities to learn more about your experience navigating the OS Hub platform and dataset, so we can design improvements that will make the most impact. If you would like to set up a feedback session with the OS Hub Product & Data team to share more about your use of OS Hub as a whole, you can schedule a time using this link.
My OS Hub Account
If you no longer have access to the email address that was previously used to manage your organization's data:
There can only be one OS Hub log-in for each Data Contributor account on OS Hub. If you'd like multiple people to be able to manage your data, we recommend registering an account using a shared email address (like email@example.com or something like that), which multiple people can access. This can make it easier as management shifts from person to person on your team. Whichever email address you choose to have associated with your account, please register for an account using that email address and contact the OS Hub team once you've done so. We can then transfer your organization's data to that account to be managed and updated from there moving forward.
Organizations with particularly stringent spam or quarantine folders will block the confirmation emails from our platform. Please check your spam folder or with your IT team to see if your email has been blocked. If you're still not able to find it, please email the OS Hub team and we'll do our best to support you.
Data Included in OS Hub
Check out our page on our open data model to learn more about how our platform works and who can upload.
We define a factory/facility as a man-made physical structure where something is produced or a service is provided.
Absolutely. Commodity level data is a crucial part of supply chain mapping as we expand across multiple sectors. However, we understand that many commodity level sites are also people’s homes (e.g. a family farm), so ask that only registered business addresses be uploaded to the tool. A policy with additional guidance on this will be released soon.
Open Supply Hub currently only accepts data for relating to the production of goods. At this time, we ask that you do not upload service providers who are not directly related to production efforts.
The OS Hub team never deletes data from the database. The list from this company will remain in the database, displaying the date when the data was last updated. There are stakeholders who find this data valuable from the perspective of understanding historical affiliations and supply chain changes over time, even if a brand no longer exists.
Interpreting Data in OS Hub
OS Hub uses the following order of priority to determine which data should appear first:
Claimed status - if a facility is claimed and the facility owner or senior manager has submitted data
Verified status - if a verified contributor has contributed data points
Frequency - if a value has been submitted more frequently than others
If none of these elements are at play, the data that was submitted first will be automatically prioritized.
The OS Hub team also actively moderates and promotes higher quality data within facility profiles. If you come across an entry in the tool whose primary information should be reordered, please email the team with the OS ID, details of the data you believe should be the primary entry and the reason why, and the OS Hub team will look into your request.
There are two reasons this might occur:
1. The organization that once contributed that facility is no longer working with it. In removing that facility or uploading a new list without that facility included, it broke their connection with the facility and anonymized the data contribution.
2. This facility was added via an anonymous API connection. Some API users choose to push data to OS Hub to receive OS IDs for facilities, but do not add their organization name as a Data Contributor.
Organizations are able to upload whatever amount of their data they wish to OS Hub and describe it as they see fit. Some brands may choose to share what percentage of their supplier data is shared on OS Hub in their list name or description.
Increasing numbers of organizations are now publishing supply chain data and sharing that information publicly on their websites. Alongside stakeholders submitting their supplier lists themselves, the OS Hub team has uploaded many of these publicly available facility lists to the site, in order to grow the size and quality of our data set. Where data has been uploaded by the OS Hub team in the name of another organization, this is marked with [Public List] to indicate that the organization itself has not uploaded the data.
When public data is uploaded, the owner of that public data is contacted and encouraged to take over management of that list on OS Hub themselves. We welcome organizations taking over their public lists on the site, to better manage the data and reap the benefits OS Hub brings. If you're an organization with a public list on OS Hub, contact the OS Hub team to take over management of your data, or schedule a call to find out more.
These Data Contributors are contributing via the OS Hub API. This means they are programmatically pushing and pulling data between their database and OS Hub, so there isn't a specific list to name.
The OS Hub uses Google for its geocoding. Whilst the system is not perfect, it is widely considered best in class.
If you would like to request an update to the GPS coordinates of a facility you see in the OAR, please contact our team.
Preparing Data for Upload
Absolutely. Please be sure they are separated by a vertical bar within the sector_product_type cell for that facility.
Please do. This will increase the search power of Open Supply Hub. Simply copy that Sector value into the sector_product_type field for all of your facilities.
Generally, the data published on Open Supply Hub is categorized as [phone book data]. We're not publishing any data that is considered proprietary or that requires extra layers of protection or privacy. If you have any specific privacy agreements with your members or facilities, that will be up to your organization to determine.
The only required fields to submit a facility are country, name and address. If neither the Product or Sector fields are completed, the sector will be listed as Unspecified if you are the only Contributor of data for that facility. You are welcome to submit as many or as few of the additional data points as you have access to.
Either option is acceptable, but please DO NOT enter N/A or other filler content.
Because there is no universal definition for Tier, we do not recommend submitting it as a facility/processing type to Open Supply Hub. Instead, please refer to our Facility Type Taxonomy for recommended submissions for this data point.
However, you can separate your lists by Tier and upload multiple lists through your account, so that you display separate lists for each of the Tier of your supply chain.
We understand that organizations all format their lists in slightly different ways. In order for our algorithm to effectively sort through, clean and match the data uploaded to the platform, facility information must be uploaded in a consistent manner.
If your list is currently separated into more columns than provided in our template, we recommend two options:
1. Follow the instructions in this tutorial for a simple Excel formula that will enable you to combine data from multiple cells into one cell.
2. Alternatively, you can download ABLEBITS, an Excel, Google Sheets or Numbers add-on. This add-on allows you to easily merge multiple columns for addresses into one column in a matter of seconds.
The Data Upload Process
When your list is uploaded to OS Hub, an algorithm is comparing each facility in your list to the facilities already in the database. If the system is more than 80% confident that it has found an entry for one of your facilities that already exists in the database, it will match your facility to that facility profile and OS ID. If there is less than 50% confidence that there is already an existing entry for that facility, a new profile and OS ID will be created. If the system thinks it has found a match but isn’t sure (i.e. it’s between 50 and 80% confident), it asks that a human check the match. Those facilities may take a few more days to show up in your list, as the OS Hub Data team is performing that human check before publishing that facility to the database.
There are a variety of reasons that the final number of facilities that populate the map from your account is lower than the number of entries in your CSV file:
- The quality of data of some entries in your supplier list was not of sufficient quality to be processed by the OS Hub system. These facilities will appear with ERROR alongside them when you view them in the My Lists section, but will never appear in the map itself.
- Some facilities in your list require the OS Hub team to check if they match a facility in the database. These facilities will not appear in your list until that check is complete.
- If there were duplicate entries in the uploaded list (NOTE: please clean your list of duplicates before uploading), and those duplicates matched with a facility already existing in the database, then they would be combined to one facility entry.
There are four types of Error messages you could receive about a facility when uploading your data:
ERROR: this error status means something unexpected has happened. If you see this status once your facility list has been processed, please report it to the OS Hub team who will investigate the issue further.
ERROR_PARSING: this means that there is a problem with the data itself, rather than the address, such as data being split over multiple lines within a cell; the data being incomplete, e.g. missing the facility name, country name or address details.
ERROR_GEOCODING or ERROR_MATCHING: this means that there is an issue with the address and the geocoder cannot locate it. Common errors include inaccuracies in the address details, e.g. when the country specified does not match the rest of the address details (e.g. an address in Athens being listed with the country United Kingdom); a city name that does not exist; insufficient address details being submitted for the system to pick up.
Use the details above to investigate what may have been the cause of the error you were receiving. Once you have located the cause, update that facility data in your full CSV/Excel file and upload the complete facility list again, replacing the previous list when doing so.
- Check you have not accidentally changed the column headers in the OS Hub Data Template. The first three column headers must be country, name, address (in lowercase).
- Ensure that you do not have any blank cells in the country, name, or address columns, or any merged cells in file. You can quickly check for blank cells by applying filters to the spreadsheet.
- Check that your file uses commas to separate or delimit the individual fields, not semicolons, tabs, or other characters.
- Ensure that your file size is 5MB or less.
- If you're uploading an Excel file, ensure that it is a .xlsx. We do not support .xls. If you have an older version of Excel and cannot produce a .xlsx file, please save as a .csv.
- If you're uploading a CSV file, ensure that it is file type UTF-8.
- Currently, your list must be in English. OS Hub is not be able to accept non-Roman characters/languages at this time.
If you are still experiencing issues uploading to OS Hub, please contact the team.
UPLOADED: this means that the facility has been uploaded to OS Hub and will begin the three processing steps each facility goes through on the system.
PARSED: this is the first of the three processing steps, in which the line is separated into distinct country, name, and address fields and the country field is verified against a list of known countries.
GEOCODED: the address and country are submitted to a service that returns a location on the globe corresponding to that country and address. This allows the application to show the location of the facility on a map. When a facility is listed as geocoded it means it has been successfully located and will appear on the OS Hub map.
GEOCODED_NO_RESULTS: this means that the name and address details have been submitted to the geocoder but do not contain sufficient information for the geocoder to return a result and plot the facility on the OS Hub map.
MATCHED: this means that the facility has been successfully processed and located by the system and matches with an existing entry in OS Hub. Click through the listing to see who the other Contributors are that have added this facility to the database.
POTENTIAL_MATCH: this means that the algorithm that sits behind OS Hub has detected several similarities between the name and address details submitted on your list for the facility and a facility that already exists in OS Hub, but not with enough confidence to assume a match. For this reason, manual intervention is required to Confirm or Reject the match. The OS Hub team will evaluate each potential match and either move it to a Confirmed Match or New Facility.
CONFIRMED_MATCH: when the OS Hub team has manually confirmed a potential match on your list, the status will update to CONFIRMED_MATCH.
NEW_FACILITY: this means that a facility has been successfully processed and located by the system and, because it is the first time this facility has been submitted to OS Hub, created as a new facility in the database. As it is a new facility in the database, it will only show one Contributor, until such time as other organization(s) upload the same facility to the database. A NEW_FACILITY will also be created when a POTENTIAL_MATCH is rejected.
ERRORS: See the above FAQ about Error Types and definitions in OS Hub.
DELETED: this status appears when a facility has been deleted from the OS Hub database. It is no longer searchable through the map, but a historical record of its existence remains in the back-end of the OS Hub database. Only the OS Hub team have the ability to delete a facility from the database. This could occur when a fake or example facility has been accidentally uploaded, for instance.
REMOVED: if an organization no longer wants to be visibly connected with a facility on OS Hub, it can remove it from its list, without deleting it from OS Hub. The facility still exists publicly in OS Hub and is searchable on the map, but its affiliation with that organization is no longer visible. The OS Hub team may also remove a facility entry from a list before it is processed, if it is of extremely poor quality.
Editing or Updating Data
You can follow the same instructions as you did previously, when preparing and uploading data. You can log in through your existing account and replace your previous lists when you upload, if you wish to make them inactive.
When you upload your supplier list, OS Hub offers a [replace list] function. Having logged into your OS Hub account and navigated to the Upload Data page, you will follow the same upload process as on previous occasions. Once you upload your most up to date supplier list, you will see a dropdown that reads [Select a list to replace] immediately above the submit button. You can use this dropdown to select your old supplier list, which will be superseded in the public system by your new list. Any facilities that you no longer work with will automatically no longer be affiliated with your organization, although they will remain in OS Hub as a listed facility, so that their name and address information, and unique OS ID, is not lost.
Through your Data Contributor account, you will be able to see previous lists that you have uploaded to the site. Those you have replaced over time will be marked as Inactive.
If you accidentally miss this step and would like to make a list inactive, contact our team and we can help.
In the My lists section of your account, search for the facility you would like to remove and click REMOVE.
There are no requirements to update your data on Open Supply Hub at any specific cadence. As you're considering how often to update, here are a few elements other users have shared for consideration:
1. How often are your lists of facilities changing? How long does it feel comfortable to have facilities on your list with whom you no longer work?
2. Are you a member of any pledges or initiatives that require public disclosure on a regular basis? If you're considering using OS Hub as your tool for disclosure in those cases, you may want to plan your upload schedule around those requirements, at a minimum.
3. It is certainly best practice to upload your data at least once a year. We are finding that more and more users are increasing their cadence to twice a year or quarterly (some even more often), to ensure that they are working with the most accurate data possible.
The best practice for this is to add the new facility details to your existing list in CSV/Excel and re-submit the entire list to OS Hub to be processed by the system. When uploading an entire list again, you can choose the option to [Select a list to replace] and replace the old list with your new list.
It is not currently possible for you to change the name of a list after it has been uploaded to OS Hub. You can either email the OS Hub team to request the list name change, or upload the list again with your preferred name and choose the option to [Select a list to replace] replacing the incorrectly named list.
If you added a new list to your account, replacing a previous list when you did so, then there may be a brief period of time when you will not see your organization's data when searching Open Supply Hub. This is because the OS Hub team is in the process of reviewing your new list before moving it forward to be processed and added to OS Hub. During that interim period, your previous list has been deactivated and your new list is not yet live. Once your new list has been approved, your data will be searchable in OS Hub once again.
Data Moderation in OS Hub
While infrequent, it is possible. If two facilities in OS Hub are found to be duplicates, they will be merged together, leaving only one OS ID in use.
The OS Hub team welcomes suggestions from users who have local knowledge of a facility and believe they have more accurate GPS coordinates. Please submit the details to the team, including the OS ID, your alternative GPS coordinates and how you sourced them. The team will review your submission in line with our Moderation Policy.
Click the flag icon on the facility profile to report it as closed. You'll be asked to share how you know this facility is closed. This report will then move to the OS Hub team for review. If the report is accepted, a banner will appear marking the facility as closed. If it also moved and the new facility exists in OS Hub, the banner will link to the new facility location. View our policy on marking facilities as closed on OS Hub.
The Open Apparel Registry
In a previous iteration, Open Supply Hub was called the Open Apparel Registry (OAR) and focused solely on the apparel sector. Read this article to learn more about the Open Apparel Registry and what it accomplished. When the OAR expanded to become Open Supply Hub, all of the data that was in the tool became the apparel sector data in Open Supply Hub.
Your data was automatically transferred to Open Supply Hub and assigned Apparel as its sector. Your Open Supply Hub log-in is the same as your OAR login, so you can sign in and update your data at whatever cadence is appropriate for your organization.
Have a question you don't see answered here?
Please don't hesitate to reach out. We're happy to help!