What is a logistics unit?
A logistics unit is a combination of:
- a logistics carrier, such as a pallet, which is uniquely identified worldwide by means of a Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI).
- and products uniquely identified worldwide using Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN’s).
The carrier and the products form one logistics unit if they remain together during certain steps of the logistics process such as transport or storage.
What is an SSCC?
The logistics unit is identified by the party composing the unit by a Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC). You could therefore call that SSCC a globally unique pallet number.
Do you have 10 logistics units in your warehouse, consisting of the same pallet with the same products on it? Then the 10 pallets have the same GRAI and all products have the same GTIN. Nevertheless, 10 different SSCCs are assigned to the logistic units, which are 10 combinations of 1 pallet with products on it.
Order SSCCs for your logistic units
To assign SSCCs, you have to be a GS1 member. This will give you a company prefix, which allows you to activate SSCCs within a reserved number sequence.
Think about the number of logistic units you create in one year when choosing the needed numbering capacity and take enough margin. An SSCC can only be awarded to a new logistic unit after one year has passed since the old logistics unit was "consumed".
How do you assign an SSCC?
In theory, your internal software such as the ERP, production (MES), warehouse (WMS), transport management system (TMS), etc. can automatically assign SSCCs based on your GS1 company prefix.
Is this not possible and do you need to implement the logistic label together with the electronic delivery note and are you going to use a webEDI solution for this? Then you might be able to create logistics labels with SSCCs on them via that tool.
When do you need to assign an SSCC?
It is best to assign an SSCC immediately after the logistic unit has been composed.
The producer can therefore already assign the SSCC at the production output of the finished products. Has the producer not assigned an SSCC? Then the wholesaler can do this upon receipt of the goods. This is best practice for homogeneous logistics units that contain only one product with one lot number.
However, heterogeneous logistics units containing different products can only receive an SSCC during picking. During that process, the relationship between the products, their GTIN, their lot number and the carrier is established.
The SSCC is printed on a logistics label that is affixed to the logistics unit.