How To Meet Traceability Standards With SSCC Compliance

In today’s fast-paced consumer world, an endless stream of pallets and cartons are dispatched daily worldwide, delivering goods between industries and trade. Only a highly efficient global standard can make this process possible.

The importance of correctly generated SSCC labels cannot be underestimated, as non-compliance can lead to costly errors, supply chain delays, and possible shipment rejections.

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The GS1 Global Traceability Standard

The main objective of the GS1 Traceability Standard, GTS, is to assist organizations and industries in designing and implementing traceability systems based on a set of standards implemented by GS1. This standard provides vital information and knowledge for companies and industries developing long-term traceability goals.

The GTS is intended to be used across the supply chain and is relevant to each stage from when consignments leave the supplier’s warehouse. It is important to note that the standards by GS1 do not aim to compete with other international standards for traceability, like those from ISO or the Global Food Safety Initiative. Instead, it is meant to be used alongside them, teaching companies and organizations how to meet these requirements with standardized data.

What is the Serial Shipping Container Code?

The Serial Shipping Container Code, or SSCC, is an 18-digit identification number that labels shipping units like pallets, cartons, and containers. Each code is entirely numeric and uniquely worldwide. This code is connected with the consignment throughout the entire transport route, allowing for seamless tracking and easy identification at any time or place.

It is a mandatory component on any GS1 transport label, displayed as a GS1-128 barcode. Although information can be added or shared amongst trading partners, this unique code remains the same for the life of the logistic unit.

The structure of the SSCC barcode label comprises of different components. The first digit is a reserve number between 0 and 9, freely selectable by the SSCC creator. The second position is a 7 to 9-digit GS1 base number based on the individual Global Location Number of the supplying company.

This is followed by a sequence of numbers, either 7 or 9 digits long, assigned by the SSCC’s creator. It is the serial reference and is often company-assigned. Finally, the final digit of the SSCC code is a check digit, used to check the validity of the code and prevent any errors and duplications.

Advantages of Using SSCC

Companies that use SSCC labels for their deliveries and shipments benefit in many ways. This can include high customer satisfaction by adhering to pre-determined delivery dates and smooth order processing, avoiding out-of-stock situations when dealing directly with customers, and seamless shipment tracking along the entire transport route.

Furthermore, all shipping units will be assigned unique identification markers, and communication with business partners across the globe will be efficient and transparent, thanks to maintaining a high global standard.

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Four Main Areas of Non-Compliance

When creating SSCC labeling, four main points of concern could result in delays throughout the supply chain or shipment rejection.

Print/Label Quality

The quality of your printer can have a considerable impact on the supply chain. If the barcode or other important information is not printed correctly, it can pose a challenge for scanners to read this vital information properly. Regular printer maintenance is vital in avoiding this unnecessary hassle.

Furthermore, it is crucial to select the correct label stock for the harsh environmental elements it may be subjected to, and any label applied to a shipment must be able to last the required length of the shipment process. For example, if exposed to direct sunlight, thermal transfer labels will be needed, as thermal direct labels blacken in color when exposed to heat.

Mismatched Labels

When using automated systems that print and apply labels, one must ensure that the label is printed in the correct location each time to provide easy access throughout the supply chain. The easiest way to ensure you have 100% accuracy every time is by implementing a scanning solution alongside this automated process.

It will guarantee that the correct label is applied to the correct product, preventing any unnecessary issues that could delay the supply chain or lead to a rejected shipment.

Incorrect Barcode Type

To maintain the required traceability standards, all barcode labels must comply with the standard set by GS1. This process can be simplified by utilizing labeling software that specifically provides GS1 standard barcodes, allowing you to maintain the required standards throughout the labeling process.

Missing/Incorrect Information

To prevent any label duplications that could lead to your shipments being rejected, it is strongly recommended that you lock down the barcode information and serialization. This will ensure each label generated is unique to each new shipment.

Additionally, creating a database that records the labeling information as it is generated will further assist in eliminating the possibility of labels being printed with errors or duplications. This risk is elevated through manual data entry.

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Importance of Traceability Standards

The importance of having effective and reliable traceability has only grown as industries continue to expand. Alongside increasing the quality, efficiency, and transparency of supply chains, the sharing and use of traceability data allows solutions to be created that increase the security and safety of these chains.

In addition, the supply chains of today are very long and complex, often intersecting with many other supply chains, making the traceability of products a challenge across multiple parties and chains. With emerging regulations and market pressure, supply chain traceability often has to comply with rules set out for many different countries, regions, and industries, each with its own unique jurisdictions.

This can result in many internal and external requirements that must be met to maintain the necessary standards. By creating universal compliances, the complex merging of industries and conditions can be simplified and inclusive in a way that is relevant to all.

If you want to read more articles like this, check out these two articles.

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