September 2011: GTINs – the Devil Is in the Details
Earlier this year there was debate over how detailed a GTIN should be. In other words – should an 11 lb. case of grapes in clamshells have a different GTIN from the same grapes packed in bags? What about RPC labels? Should the GTINs distinguish between grapes grown in Mexico vs. the US, or is commodity enough detail?
This debate was put to rest – and the specific camp won out. But how specific should the GTIN be? This matters because it affects how a case gets labeled. The best rule of thumb we’ve found is that if a case is priced differently, or is treated as a different SKU by the retailer . . . then it’s a different GTIN.
It pays to start with a very detailed GTIN list, because it’s easier to make a very detailed list generic, but very hard to make your list more detailed once you’ve started.
The HarvestMark team is GS1 certified, and we’ve helped hundreds of our customers navigate their own GTIN lists. Contact us if you’d like to see how we can help you.
More Retailers Get on Board with PTI Compliance
Recently, Publix joined the ranks of other major retailers who expect their suppliers to comply with the PTI milestones. Some shippers are concerned that retailers haven’t implemented the changes to their warehouse management systems to receive PTI-labeled cases, which they see as a sign that they can wait to become compliant. However once these systems are turned on, the systems may not be configured to receive non-compliant case labels.
Would you like to know which retailers have requested PTI compliance from their suppliers? Have you received a request to get compliant before the deadline? Join the ranks of over 200 of our customers who have gotten compliant before the deadline. Call us (866-768-7878) if you need to meet a retailer’s PTI deadline.
5 Common Mistakes Shippers Make with PTI
Let’s face it. Implementing PTI can be complicated. There’s a lot of new information to digest, packing processes to change, and competing (and often wrong) advice to navigate. Based on our experience, here are some common errors that can be avoided:
1. Printing non-allowed characters in a lot code.
GS1 only allows a certain character set in a lot code . . . if you include a non-allowed code the the receiving system could choke.
2. Printing barcodes too small or low in quality.
It’s tempting to cut costs by using a low quality inkjet system or a tiny label for the GS1 barcode. However, for retailers to reliably scan them, the barcodes need to be grade 1.5 or better and at least 0.5” high and 10 mil line width.
The HarvestMark PTI software will make sure you’re compliant for an annual fee as low as $1500 a year. No per-box fees. No hidden “consulting” fees or software upgrade charges.
3. Insufficient quiet zone.
Barcodes need a quiet zone (i.e,. no printing) on either end. Print to the edge of the label, and you risk a scan fail.
4. Wrong GTIN strategy.
It’s easy to mix up case-level GTINs and item-level GTINs (databar or UPC). It’s not a one-to-one mapping. A single watermelon GTIN, for example, can be packed in multiple case GTINs.
5. Forgot the VoiceCode?
The VoiceCode (also called the voice pick code) is now part of the PTI standard and needs to be printed on the label. Forget that and cases won’t flow smoothly through a DC using voice picking.