GS1 Australia has recently launched a new assessment service to advise suppliers and manufacturers on the correct way to label pallets. An integrated quality process incorporating people, processes, procedures and equipment is required to maintain consistent pallet label quality.
Poor pallet labelling practices are an ongoing supply chain headache for major supermarket retailers. In a letter to their trade partners Woolworths, GS1 Australia’s Industry Manager – FMCG, Andrew Steele highlighted the importance of correctly applying logistics labels on pallets being delivered to their distribution centres.
The new pallet label quality checklist has been compiled by GS1 Australia to assist suppliers with successful pallet labelling by including it in quality inspection and assurance practices.
Pallet labels are typically applied at the point of manufacture or at the point of dispatch. GS1 Australia encourages businesses to introduce a robust quality system to ensure ongoing compliance and acceptance of product into retail distribution centres. Steele believes companies should consider a range of options that will best suit their business and processes.
- One-off GS1 Australia testing of all new pallet labels at the commencement of the product line
- Annual audit by GS1 Australia via the Logistic Unit Onsite Labelling Assessment Service
- Training of staff to understand industry requirements
- Introduction of quality inspection and assurance practices within the operation
There are two key opportunities for checking including a physical check of the key data attributes using standard checklists and operating procedures, and scanning of the label to ensure readability.
Label is attached correctly and includes:
- Supplier details
- GTIN of the product
- Product description
- Carton quantity on pallet
- Code date information (if applicable)
- Batch number (if applicable)
- SSCC is unique for each pallet
- Both SSCC and product information bar codes printed in the GS1-128 symbology
- Quiet Zones (light margins) must not be infringed.
- SSCC bar code magnification between 48.7% and 92.5%
- Product information bar code(s) magnification between 25% and 100%
- All bar codes are minimum 32mm in height
- Human readable no less than 3mm height, clear, legible, located below bar code symbology
- Standard A6 format (105mm X 148mm) is sufficient for most requirements.
- Width should remain constant at 105mm
- Larger label sizes are also permissible
- Label orientation can be either portrait or landscape
The SSCC has not already been issued in the last 12 months.
Physical Positioning Considerations
The physical positioning of pallet labels requires operators to examine the location and positioning of the label. This can be done by developing a series of operating templates, measuring devices, and visual checks based on specific business requirements.
- Two identical labels per pallet, on opposing fork entry sides
- Vertical position, not crooked, creased or angled greater than 5 degrees
- 400mm and 800mm from the base of the pallet and no closer than 50mm and no further than 100mm from the right hand vertical edge as per the grocery and liquor industry requirements
- For full pallets, label must be placed on the outside of stretch-wrap
- When multiple pallets are stacked and stretch-wrapped on the same footprint, the pallet labels should be applied underneath the stretch-wrap as the stretch-wrap will be cut away upon delivery into the DC
- When multiple pallets are stacked and stretch-wrapped individually, the pallet label should be applied over the stretch-wrap
- Check the pallet labels are identical per pallet
Service agreements and internal work procedures for the checking of print applicators are integral to the success of pallet label application.
- Labelling equipment must be serviced and cleaned on a regular basis
- Staff should be trained to visually check labels for split bars, label creasing and other print quality issues that might cause the label not to scan