GS1 Australia has launched a new logistics label assessment service to advise suppliers and manufacturers on correct pallet labelling practices.
According to GS1 Australia’s Industry Manager – FMCG, Andrew Steele, major retailers have identified incorrect pallet labelling as an emerging supply chain problem.
A recent sample audit for instance, found that approximately 44% pallet labels did not meet industry requirements.
A Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) is similar to a vehicle licence plate that uniquely identifies each pallet. Retailers require logistics labels with unique SSCC numbers to be applied to pallets that are delivered to their distribution centres for scanning on receipt.
When logistics labels don’t scan, data has to be keyed in manually and internal labels applied, delaying the unloading of the truck as well as opening up opportunity for data errors.
The delay causes products to end up in the loading bay instead of on the supermarket shelf.
Key issues listed by retailers include:
- No label has been applied
- The label is in the wrong location
- Information on the label does not match what is on the pallet
- Multiple labels with different SSCC numbers have been applied
- Logistics labels do not scan
- Stretch-wrap has been applied over the logistics label preventing proper scan
GS1 Australia conducted an audit over 20 sites in New South Wales based on feedback from retailers.
According to Steele, the audit found that the issue was with the business processes and mostly not with the logistics label itself.
However, a GS1 Australia Alliance Partner who provides labelling solutions with over 1,000 installations nationally found that only 50 per cent of their clients had regular maintenance servicing included in their installation contracts.
Logistics labels are usually printed and applied onsite, sometimes by third-party logistics providers. If label printers are not regularly serviced or maintained, this will impact the quality of the labels, says Steele.
He adds that if the warehouse or logistics staff has not been trained on how to apply logistics labels correctly, it can lead to multiple problems. Unless the logistics label is scanned before it leaves the warehouse, the supplier will not know whether it can be scanned at the retailer’s end.
GS1 Australia’s onsite logistics label assessment service for suppliers to assess logistics (pallet) label quality and adherence to Australian industry requirements will be delivered by the Professional Services team in consultation with GS1 Australia’s Industry Engagement team.
As part of the onsite pallet labelling assessment service, the team will ensure the pallet labels meet the technical specifications and assess the business process involved.
The logistics label assessment service involves recording the following:
- Type and model printer being used including online printer/applicator versus desktop
- Service log or cleaning and maintenance procedure
- Label application process: Manual or automated
- Label application in the correct location as per industry requirements
- Label scanning before despatch to the customer
GS1 Australia will also provide an ISO grade and scan rate of all labels assessed and assist businesses to improve their processes as part of their logistics label assessment service.
Key advantages include optimum time to market for the product, better inventory control through automatic inventory updates as well as easy product tracking and tracing in the event of product withdrawal or recall.