What Is Product Labeling?
Product labeling is any written, electronic or graphic communications on a package or on a separate but associated label. A product label is required to identify each product to designate its origin, contents, use and destination. Each unit you send for fulfillment needs a scannable bar code so that it can be properly stored at the warehouse location. These labels are required to process and track inventory at the fulfillment center. There are specific guidelines on how goods should be labeled based on your fulfillment company’s process.
What is the Purpose of Product Labeling?
Product labels are essential to communicate how to use, transport, recycle, or dispose of a package or product. Some types of information are mandated by governments relating to specific industries such as pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics, medical and chemical products. For marketing purposes, a label can provide a consistent and trustworthy branding message so customers can instantly recognize the origin of an item. It serves to reduce the security risks of shipment. Labels may use security printing to help indicate that the package and contents are not counterfeit.Many types of symbols for package labeling are standardized to be recognized nationally and internationally. Country of origin labeling is often used.
Technologies specifically related to shipping containers are identification codes, bar codes and electronic data interchange (EDI). These three core technologies support the process of shipping containers throughout the distribution channel. Identification codes either relay product information or serve to identify other data. Bar codes allow for the automated input of identification codes and complementing data. EDI moves data between trading partners within the distribution channel.
UPC vs SKU
While some may haphazardly interchange the terms UPC and SKU, they are actually two quite different entities. They are both numeric-based codes assigned to products, but UPCs, or Universal Product Codes are standardized for business use and provide a product description that, once scanned, anyone could read. In contrast, a SKU, or Stock Keeping Unit, is a number assigned to a product by the company for stock-keeping purposes and internal operations.
The UPC code is affixed to a product wherever it is sold, remaining a constant throughout the product’s shelf life. Since a SKU is unique to the company, the same product would have differentSKUs if sold by different companies, but they would have the same UPC.
Another difference is that SKUs are typically eight alpha-numeric digits, while UPCs are 12 digits, numeric only.
In conclusion, SKUs are for internal use, and UPCs are for external, or universal, use.
Types of Labeling
Each fulfillment company will have its own system for processing product shipments so its necessary to coordinate with the fulfillment expert to make sure you meet their specific guidelines. Most require shipping labels, warehouse and bin labels, container labels for package, carton or skid and item labels. These used in conjunction with warehouse mapping, bin barcode labels may be used when putting items away, pulling items from stock and when cycle counting.
These type of labels are used as the finished goods items are being packaged and boxed. They identify the items to be stored in the warehouse and contain barcodes that are used with the scanners when pulling orders and through cycle counts. Container tracking enables the fulfillment personnel to select the type and number of levels assigned to each inventory item according to skid, carton and package. All of these may be selected to be used in conjunction with warehouse, bin and job tracking. Container type and quantity are required on the label which is printed and affixed to the container unit which can be a skid, carton or a package to provide scanning capabilities to rapidly input inventory movement data directly to the system.
Although each label format is usually customized for each client, the actual data printed on the label is consistent and taken from the system. Labeling makes it efficient and accurate when putting items away from stock and during cycle counting.
A UPC and EAN are identification codes, the SCC-14 is a UPC shipping container code, the SSCC-18 is the serial shipping container code, the Interleaved 2-of-5 and UCC/EAN – 128 are for newly designated GS1-128 bar code technologies and ANSI ASC X12 and UN/EDIFACT EDI standards. Small parcel carriers often have their own formats. RFID labels are for shipping containers are increasing in usage putting pressure on suppliers for compliance. https://riverplateinc.com/services/product-labeling https://riverplateinc.com/services/product-labeling https://riverplateinc.com/services/product-labelingShipments of hazardous materials or dangerous goods have special information and symbols on labels as required by UN, country and specific carrier requirements.
Packages that are transported often include standardized universal symbols to communicate handling needs. Some of these are:
- Do not use hand hooks
- This way up
- Fragile Material
- Keep away from water
- Keep away from sunlight
- Center of gravity
- Clamp as indicated
- Do not clamp as indicated
- Food contact material
- Attention for this material
Others are listed in ASTM D5445 “Standard Practice for Pictorial Markings for Handling Goods” and ISO 780 “Pictorial marking for handling goods”.
An expert fulfillment client will guide their clients through the proper way to label each product and identify the specific requirements need to meet government guidelines for their specific industry.
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