The GS1-128 Shipping Label – What Is It?

October 5, 2011

The GS1-128 Shipping label is instrumental to trading in an EDI environment because the labels can be the connection between the EDI documents and the actual cartons that you are shipping to your Trading Partner.

The GS1-128 Shipping label, formerly known as the UCC-128 Shipping label, has become a requirement in most industries and involves both small and large organizations.

The format of the GS1-128 Shipping label follows specific guidelines developed by each trading partner and contains information in accordance with the original UCC (Uniform Code Council) and EAN (European Article Numbering) standard guidelines. The GS1 organization (formerly known as the Uniform Code Council) is the organization that is responsible for managing the GS1 system within the United States. The guidelines were established so that shipments of all industries would have a uniform method of labeling.

If you are wondering what exactly a GS1-128 Shipping label is, it is a pressure sensitive label that is attached to each carton or pallet. The size of the label is normally 4” x 6” but it is important to review your trading partner’s requirements regarding the size of the label. These labels provide detailed information about the items and shipment. The label provides important information to the receiver, such as the shipper, what is in each carton, the ship to location, and other pertinent information. The label is a combination of text and barcode information. The label is scanned when the product reaches its final destination and is incorporated into the recipient’s receiving or inventory process. The information on the label is usually tied to the Advance Ship Notice (856) that had already been transmitted to the trading partner via EDI. Therefore, information that is on the label must be exactly the same as sent on the Advance Ship Notice (856). If the information differs, a trading partner is likely to chargeback the shipper.

As mentioned, the GS1-128 Shipping label can have many different formats, depending on the trading partner. Usually the name and address for both the company who is shipping the product and the organization who is receiving the merchandise is listed at the top of the label so that it can be easily read at the final destination. Usually the largest and most noticeable section on the label is the SSCC-18 (Serial Container Shipping Code) found on every GS1-128 Shipping label. This 20 digit number, which includes readable data, as well as scanable information, allows a trading partner to not only identify you as a vendor but also provides information regarding a unique sequence for each carton.

In addition to the format of the label, the trading partner often requires these labels to be placed at a specific location on the carton. It is always best to review your trading partner’s Routing Guide for instructions as to where to place the label before shipping your product.

Feel free to contact 1 EDI Source if you have any trading partners that are requiring you to use the GS1-128 Shipping label. With over 25 years in the EDI industry, we have worked with many companies and have assisted with their label needs. I am sure that we can answer any questions or concerns that you may have!