Purpose of labelling of Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) and Distribution Unit (DU)
The purpose of a standard for labelling of Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) and Distribution Unit (DU) with subsequent electronic data interchange (EDI) is to:
- Achieve an efficient flow of products from manufacturer to consumer
- Ensure traceability through the value chain, which is important in case an event or crisis occurs which requires a recall or withdrawal of the product
The basis for this is the labelling of each Distribution Unit (DU) with a unique SSCC.
This code is the main key in the electronic Despatch Advice and is linked to information about which GTIN which the Distribution Unit (DU) consists of, the number of Stock Keeping Units (SKU) batch / lot number and shelf life information if applicable.
SSCC is the most important key for traceability of Distributions Units (DU), see Recommended way to track and trace a product in the value chain.
For that reason SSCC shall not be reused until after a minimum of 6 years.
Efficiency and traceability are achieved primarily through:
- Synchronization of product information between the various parts in the value chain.
The purpose is for all players to obtain correct and coherent product information about the products. Between suppliers and retail chains in the Norwegian groceries sector the EPD database is used for the registration, quality assurance and distribution of product information.
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between the actors.
The purpose is to reduce manual operations and reduce lead time in the value chain. The most widely used EDI messages are order, order confirmation, Despatch Advice and invoice.
- Standardized labelling of outer packaging.
The purpose is to contribute to faster and more efficient shipping, distribution and receipt of the products. A common labelling concept for the grocery industry is used here; GS1-128.
To ensure rational product and information flow in the distribution chain, STAND recommends a uniform labelling of Stock Keeping Units (SKU) and Distribution Units (DU).
This simplifies the labelling of the manufacturer / supplier, shipment by shipper / freight forwarders and merchandise at distributor / store.
This labelling concept also applies to types of transport units other than pallets.
For fish and fish products, the following applies:
STAND has decided to refer to Norwegian Standard NS17099:2020 “Information technology — Fishery and aquaculture products — Requirements for labelling of distribution units and pallets in the trade of fishery and aquaculture products” for products that fall under this category. This standard replaces todays NS9405: 2014 “Fish and fish products. Requirements for labelling of distribution units and pallets in the trade of fish and fish products», and is valid as from 30. September 2020.
It can be ordered from Standard Norway.