(877) 334-9650
August 2, 2011

You’ve been told to start using 856 transactions and GS1-128 shipping labels – now what?

Perhaps you’ve been shipping cartons to your customers for months (or maybe even years) and have always maintained a perfect order/shipping record. You even made the transition from paper and e-mail purchase orders to using EDI transactions. But then a notice arrives stating that your company must start sending the 856 Advance Ship Notice. You are thinking: Now what do I have to do? Well, in short, you must add the 856 to your list of EDI transactions and you must attach the GS1-128 shipping labels to all of your cartons or pallets.

By now, you are familiar with EDI but what is this GS1-128 label?

You may have been using labels on all of your cartons so your customers would at least know who shipped it and possibly what item number was inside. This amount of information was just fine in the past, but no longer! You already know that EDI transactions help automate sending and receiving data to and from computer systems. Well, that’s what the GS1-128 label does, too. Let’s find out how.

The GS1-128 label contains standardized information that goes well beyond supplying a simple “ship from” name and address and possibly the item number that is in the box. Today’s shipping labels now contain most or all of these sections:

  • Ship from name and address
  • Ship to name and address
  • Ship to zip code with bar code
  • Shipping carrier name, Bill of Lading (BOL) number, Pro number
  • Warehouse or Store number
  • Purchase order number
  • Item number and quantity in the carton
  • Carton count (1 of 20, 2 of 20, etc.)
  • GS1-128 number with bar code

And depending on the customer’s requirements, even more information may be needed! As you can see, most of that information is included in the purchase order, but what is that GS1-128 number and what is it for? The GS1-128 number consists of 20 digits. The first 10-14 digits identify your company and the remaining digits consist of a sequential number and check digit that makes each label number unique for at least one year before the number repeats. The reason for using it is all about automation.

Your purchase order already contains the list of item numbers and quantities ordered. And, as already stated, EDI is all about automation. So from your customer’s point of view, what do they need for streamlining the process of receiving your company’s shipments? The answer is in the 856 transaction and that bar coded GS1-128 label number!

The 856 transaction tells your customer the BOL number, PO number, Item numbers, the types and quantities of containers holding your product, and last but not least, a unique identifying number (the GS1-128 #) for each container on the shipment. Obviously, your customers need this information before the shipment arrives at their receiving location. Now, when the shipment arrives, all they need do is scan each GS1-128 bar code to update their computer system to know which container was received for the purchase order linked to that unique label number. They may use a hand held bar code scanner or use a conveyor system and automatic scanner to scan all cartons on the shipment. Basically, there is no need for counting cartons or manually entering data when receiving shipments. Automation success!

Simply stated, the GS1-128 number links every container back to the purchase order for the items in the container. Have you been told to supply GS1-128 shipping labels? Contact 1 EDI Source for all of your EDI and GS1-128 labeling solutions.