GS1-128 Shipping Labels


GS1-128 shipping labels are logistic labels which enable shipment visibility within a supply chain.  GS1-128 shipping labels are typically broken down into zones.  Each zone is defined by either the text or barcode information which is included in specified area. The bottom zone (Zone I) is commonly used to host the SSCC-18 barcode, which is used as a ‘license plate’ and correlates with GM MAN segment in an ASN (856).  Other zones are defined by individual trading partner to contain data or barcodes which support the needs of their supply chains.





Below are examples of GS1-128 Shipping Labels for both manual and automatic sortation scanning applications.

True Value GS1-128 Shipping Label which supports a manual scan of cartons upon receipt at their regional distribution center.


JC Penney GS1-128 Shipping Label which supports an automatic sortation application at their cross-dock facilities


How are GS1-128 Shipping Labels used?

GS1-128 shipping labels are used in conjunction with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and bridge physical shipments to electronic data.

Basic EDI work flow:

  • Retailer issues Purchase Order (850) to Supplier
  • Supplier receives Purchase Order (850), and creates shipment.
  • The packaging hierarchy (carton, pallets, trailers) is defined by supplier and a ‘Serialized Shipping Container Code’  SSCC-18 is assigned for either each; carton, pallet or trailer.  The level of packaging which needs an SSCC-18 is based on individual retailer requirements.
  • Supplier creates Advanced Ship Notice (856) and includes SSCC-18 to identify either each; carton, pallet or trailer.
  • When shipment arrives at retail receiving location, it is received by scanning the GS1-128 Shipping Label and associating it with an ASN (856).  Effectively, this enables a retailer to receiving and move shipments within their supply chain without having to open or manually review each shipment.

The illustration below represents the relationship between the, PO (850), ASN (856), and the GS1-128 Shipping Label which is applied to shipment.


SUPPLIER responsibility

EDI and GS1-128 Shipping Labels

The primary purpose of utilizing GS1-128 Shipping Labels is to identify a shipment with data being received and transmitted by EDI.  Specifically, fields such as the; Purchase Order, Ship To Location and sometimes item information are received in the PO (850) and are on many GS1-128 Shipping Labels.  Each shipment has a supplier assigned license plate (SSCC-18) which is transmitted in the ASN (856).  The SSCC-18 is placed in Zone I on a GS1-128 Shipping Label.

Since data being received and transmitted by EDI are essential components of a GS1-128 Shipping Label, a company’s EDI solution will determine which GS1-128 Solution is needed.

Web-Based EDI Solution

There are a variety of web-based EDI Solutions which allow users to receive and transmit EDI documents using an online portal to manage EDI accounts.  Many of these solutions include a GS1-128 Shipping Label Print Function which prints labels using either a thermal, or laser printer attached to computer which is online.


  • User friendly interface – Easy set-up and training
  • Low Cost
  • Updates and changes are managed by 3rd party service provider


  • Limited integration with internal business applications
  • Limited flexibility
  • Requires user to manually enter data

The following e-commerce companies offer web-based EDI Solutions; DiCentral, GXS – OpenText, SPS Commerce, Covalent Works, DataTrans.

Typically, companies using a web-based EDI Solution install on-demand (Thermal or Laser) printers at their shipping locations to enable them to print labels when needed.  Bar Code Graphics offers supplies for companies needing to print in-house.  For companies who are do not want to print labels in-house, Bar Code Graphics maintains a label printing service bureau with exceptional same day shipping services (for most orders).

In-House EDI Solution

EDI translation software packages enable companies to receive and transmit EDI Documents with their trading partner.   This software enables companies to leverage EDI data with other in-house applications which support and drive their businesses such as; production, WMS, accounting etc.


  • Integrated with internal business operations.
  • Customized for your company’s needs


  • Requires significant set-up time and cost
  • Supplier is responsible for updates and changes to EDI requirements
  • In-house IT Support required

Companies using an in-house EDI Solution typically install barcode label printing software and on-demand (Thermal or Laser) printers at their shipping locations to enable them to print labels when needed.  Bar Code Graphics offers software and supplies for companies needing to print in-house.  For companies who are do not want to print labels in-house, Bar Code Graphics maintains a label printing service bureau with exceptional same day shipping services (for most orders).


Educational Videos

The videos below explain how the Serial Shipping Container Code is used across the globe and how it works with EDI.

  • UPC (GTIN-12)

  • ISBN/Books

  • Medical/UDI

  • Supply Chain

  • Assets/Inventory

  • Coupon

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There are a variety of different types of barcodes. However, the UPC (Universal Product Number) symbol is the most recognized barcode in the United States, since it appears on almost every retail product. The UPC symbol is the barcode representation of the GTIN-12 which consists of twelve numeric characters that uniquely identify a company’s individual product. The GTIN-12 number is part of the family of GS1 global data structures that employ 14 digits and can be encoded into various types of data carriers.

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A requirement for selling a book through booksellers, wholesalers, and distributors is the assignment of unique ISBN numbers for each title and for each book to be marked with a Bookland EAN barcode.

The Bookland symbol allows for encodation of ISBNs (the numbers publishers use to identify their products). Since an ISBN is unique to one particular title (or product), the corresponding Bookland EAN symbol is a title-specific marking which is unique for that title. For example, if a title is available in hard cover, soft cover and as an e-book, three unique ISBN Bookland EAN bar codes are required.

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The FDA UDI Mandate is part of a comprehensive healthcare traceability initiative to improve patient safety.  The Unique Device Identifier (UDI) requirement is rooted in holding each member of the supply chain responsible for ensuring each medical device is marked with a UDI barcode with data maintained on the FDA’s GUDID universal database.

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Supply Chain

Logistic barcodes such as the GS1-128 Shipping Label are used to track movement of a shipment within a supply chain.  Since suppliers are making shipments to a variety of trading partners it is essential to integrate the relevant standards and current technology.  The use of EDI and 2D barcodes which can encode much more data has transformed many supply chains.

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The first step in designing an asset tracking system is to determine whether you are working with assets or inventory.  Assets are any items a company uses internally such as tools, equipment, furniture etc.  Inventory are items which are sold, distributed or used by a company.  The distinction between Assets and Inventory is essential in regards to how the items will be marked, scanned and stored.

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The successful integration of GS1 DataBar Coupons has dramatically improved many promotions.  The interhent features including; value codes and automatic expiration date checking for retailers, has enabled more efficient redemption, much better security and better metrics to measure the performance of a campaign.

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Brands We Work With

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