Do you palletize your products, ready to ship through the logistics chain to your retail customers?
You may already label your pallets using the GS1 logistics label concept with its associated SSCC logistic barcode. Still, with significant retailers (led by Walmart) mandating the logistics label and advance ship notices (ASN), the logistics label will become more critical than ever.
It might be helpful to look at this process and share some interesting information, mainly from GS1 and Walmart.
The objects that need to be shipped with a logistics label are logistics units.
GS1 explains this as:
A logistic unit is defined as an item of any composition established for transport and/or storage that needs to be managed through the supply chain. It is identified with a Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC).GS1 Logistic Label Guideline
Logistic Units are often pallets but can also be boxes, totes, or other items that meet the criteria.
The SSCC Barcode
The Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) is the data carrier that enables unique identification and traceability of logistics units.
The SSCC is a GS1 128 barcode that comprises 18 numeric digits, as shown here:
The elements that make up the barcode are
The Application Identifier (00), which identifies the code as SSCC, follows by 18 digits of data.
An extension digit (1 character)
The company GS1 prefix of the brand owner (the number of characters of the GS1 prefix varies, depending on what was initially purchased from GS1).
A unique serial reference number. This is created by the brand owner and can be as simple as starting with 0001, 0002, etc.
Note: the combined length of the GS1 prefix and serial reference number is always 16 digits.
Finally, a check digit.
The complete 18-digit SSCC code is unique to that particular logistics unit.
The Logistic Label
The logistic label contains the printed SSCC barcode for a particular unit.
To comply with GS1, the label need only have the printed barcode, and the minimum accepted size is 4 x 2 inches.
Usually, there is additional information printed on the label – sometimes, the label content being mandated by the customer.
As an example, these are Walmart pallet label samples:
Both labels are for a pallet of 48 cases that all contain the same SKU (Walmart has a different version for pallets that contain multiple SKUs). The label on the left is for a standard pallet, which might be broken down at the Walmart distribution center and the contents sent to more than one store.
The label on the right is for a “Pallet Pull” pallet. This is a pallet that is shipped complete from the distribution center to a single final destination store. You can see the information on the label is somewhat different and the Pallet Pull label includes an ITF-14 barcode as well as the SSCC.
The ITF-14 is encoded with the case GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) that is to be found on each individual case on the pallet. Because the items on the pallet are all the same SKU, each case has the same GTIN.
If you need to ship your products to Walmart, or any other customer, it’s important to determine which data is needed on the logistic labels since many companies have their own variations and the cost of non-compliance can be high.
Advance Ship Notice (ASN)
The Advance Ship Notice is an electronic document that contains all the needed information about the pallet and its content. The document is formatted using the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) 856 format and it is usually produced at the time of shipping and sent to the recipient of the shipment before arrival.
All the information relating to the shipment is provided to the recipient in the EDI 856 format, which their incoming EDI system understands and can decipher.
The data can be uploaded to their ERP (or other inventory systems), and when the pallet arrives, it can be received by simply scanning the SSCC barcode (this is obviously part of the data – see the highlighted line in the example).
Walmart is mandating that the SSCC barcodes and ASNs are used by suppliers by the end of 2022. Indeed, suppliers should be in compliance already, but Walmart is currently not enforcing the rule.
For anyone needing help implementing pallet labeling with SSCC logistic labels, ID Technology has a lot of available resources.
With the best-selling line of print/apply labeling systems, the ability to create and manage all the needed label formats and data, as well as over 100 sales and service people in North America, we are well-positioned to help both large and small organizations.
Also, with seven label production plants across North America – where we’ve made massive investments in technology and people, we are your #1 source for all your label needs too.
If you’d like to learn more about labeling for your logistic units, please contact us at IDT@ProMachBuilt.com – we’ll get you in touch with the right person to help you!