Recommended traceability methods in the value chain
Traceability using pallet labelling and EDI Despatch Advice
The recommended traceability method involves labelling load carriers with GS1 labelling system combined with EDI Despatch Advice (Advance Shipping Notice(ASN)).
For products distributed through the retailer’s distribution warehouses, the industry’s unified guidelines for the identification and Distribution Units (DU) are based on GS1 standards.
To conduct traceability, each actor in the value chain must have a system that can store and process Distribution Units (DU) or logistic units with unique identifiers.
The importance of SSCC as the primary tracking key for deliveries
SSCC is the most important tracking key in the retail value chain. For each pallet identified and marked with SSCC, all products that are on the pallet are linked with full tracking information (GTIN, batch / lot and shelf life). This information is sent to the buyer in an EDI Despatch Advice.
A prerequisite for the tracking information to remain intact is that an SSCC is not reused.
Reusing a SSCC can result in a pallet being stopped at the Goods Reception by the recipient’s IT system, anticipating that the pallet has been received earlier. The recipient must then issue a new SSCC for the pallet, mark it and link the contents of the pallet to the new SSCC.
Since the pallet now has a new SSCC, it can no longer be used as a mutual tracking key in the retail value chain. In case of an incident with a possible recall / withdrawal of products, this could be critical.
STAND has therefore decided the following:
“For trading in Norway, it is a requirement that SSCC shall not be reused until after a minimum of 6 years. This is rooted in the Norwegian Food Safety Law, requiering a minimum traceability of 5 years. This also includes products that are outside the scope of the Norwegian Food Safety Law”.
Traceability at and from sender
Each packaging level (Consumer Units (CU), Stock Keeping Units (SKU), Distribution Units (DU)) has an assigned GTIN and must include a bar code on the label.
On Consumer Unit (CU), GTIN should preferably be labelled with the EAN-13 bar code symbol.
Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) on the Distribution Unit (DU) must be labelled with an approved bar code symbology and linked to the Distribution Unit’s (DU) unique identification.
Each pallet must be labelled with one GS1-128 bar code pallet label. The label contains a unique identifier (SSCC) which enables a link between the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) on the pallet and the batch / lot number stored in the sender’s IT systems.
If the pallet is split or changed (for example, to one Mixed pallet or Promotional Unit, it shall be identified with a new GS1-128 label and SSCC. Mixed pallets are not labelled with product information.
The product information is attached to the pallet’s SSCC by scanning each Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) when the Distribution Unit (DU) is being assembled.
Once the sender has created the connection between the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU and the Distribution Unit (DU) and secured this, the information can be used to make an EDI Despatch Advice.
The EDI Despatch Advice is then sent from the sender to the recipient of the products. The parties are identified with GLN. This provides a clear and secure identification of the parties and is central to traceability. The Despatch Advice contains all relevant product information (GTIN, batch / lot and shelf life) about the shipment, and that it ties it to each Distribution Unit (DU) using SSCC.
For shipment, the supplier scans all outgoing Distribution Units (DU) and thus has a unified link between the individual product, its associated batches and which customer receives the product. This also enables effective control of the sending of correct products to customers.
Sender sends EDI Despatch Advice to recipient at agreed time.
Traceability at receiver
When the products arrive at the recipient, each pallet will be scanned.
All Stock Keeping Units (SKU) and Distribution Unit (DU) information is received in the EDI Despatch Advice. Using the EDI Despatch Advice, the tracking information is taken care of and significantly simplifies the products receipt.
The link to the product information occurs when the recipient scans the SSCC on each Distribution Unit (DU). Here, the recipient connects information about the products (GTIN, batch and shelf life information, against the sender (GLN).
For a Standard pallet all relevant information can be scanned from the Distribution Unit (DU) labels. This ensures that correct products are received at the same time as traceability information can be linked to the individual supplier. This simplifies and ensures the sharing of proper traceability information.
Mixed pallets must be split into the warehouse, and through IT support ensure that accurate and statutory traceability information is safeguarded and connected correctly.