Are Your SSCC Labels In Compliance?
  • Michael Stivers
October 26, 2023
Posted by Michael Stivers
Michael Stivers

What Are SSCC Labels?

A Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) is an 18-digit number that uniquely identifies a logistics unit — such as a case, carton, package, parcel, or pallet —  that is being stored or shipped. SSCC numbers, printed on barcode labels or included as RFID tags, are essential for efficient warehouse and transportation management.

As unique identifiers, they make traceability possible. With SSCC numbers, you can keep track of the shipping details for each logistics unit to make sure you are meeting your customer’s delivery expectations. 

Further, using SSCC numbers with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) communications such as Advanced Shipping Notices (ASNs) can ensure seamless processes and manage expectations across business enterprises. To learn how ShipHawk has helped other organizations save time and money by implementing EDI, watch the video below. 



Upon delivery, your customer can then quickly confirm delivery by scanning the SSCC number. 

SSCC is the standard for identifying a case, carton, package, parcel, or pallet so that its movements can be tracked and traced throughout during transportation and distribution. 

The format of SSCC numbers is defined by the GS1 organization; to learn about the SSCC format in detail, see Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC). All large retailers require that their suppliers use SSCC labels or tags that comply with GS1 standards and with the retailer’s processes.

Are You Losing Money Because of SSCC Labels?

If you’re not using ShipHawk for your warehousing and fulfillment operations, you could be losing money because of how you do SSCC labeling. 

A common problem with SSCC labels is that the wrong SSCC number could be inadvertently used on a barcode label or RFID tag. Or the right SSCC number is used on the label or tag, but the SSCC number is incorrectly communicated to the customer. Even a minor error with an SSCC label can disrupt a retailer’s supply chain. Possible issues with SSCC labels include print quality of labels, incorrect barcode format (the GS1 standard must be met), missing or incorrect information on the label, and improper placement or positioning of the label. For example, if you are shipping pallets to major retailers, you should be aware that aside from physical issues with pallets, the highest cause of delay and rejection of pallets by retailers is SSCC label issues. Retailers will either charge back delay costs to you or return the pallets to you.

If your warehousing and shipping solution does not seamlessly support generating and tracking SSCC numbers and the labels for them, you are likely doing it offline, using some separate tool. Any manual steps in your process can increase the likelihood of errors.

If your customers find that you have delivered something with an incorrect or unexpected SSCC number, the cost will come back to you. Your customers that use EDI (and ASNs) have very specific SSCC label requirements and when not followed can incur heavy chargeback expenses. If your SSCC labeling is out of compliance, and the SSCC data and labeling do not describe what you’re providing as expected, any deviations can result in a return or a charge back to you.

SSCCs in ShipHawk

With ShipHawk, you can generate SSCC numbers and SSCC labels as part of an integral warehousing and shipping process. You can be sure the SSCC labels are correct and avoid any issues with your customers.

With ShipHawk’s advanced shipping solution, the ShipHawk TMS, you can generate SSCC labels (also called carton labels) and apply them based on the destination company name or address. In ShipHawk, you can do all this directly from the same user interface you use to manage all aspects of your fulfillment process. If you are creating a new label, you can easily configure a new SSCC code for your label, specifying the name, GS1 company prefix, serial reference number, and any extension digits. Further, for your reference, ShipHawk lists all the SSCC codes that have been created in ShipHawk.

With ShipHawk’s agile, highly configurable warehousing solution, the ShipHawk WMS, you have an easy-to-use WMS that embraces best-in-class practices and fully supports the effortless printing (and reprinting) of SSCC labels, and provides auto-pack breakdown for EDI orders. ShipHawk WMS integrates directly to SPS Commerce’s Retail Label API, which allows for effortless label generation with minimal setup.  In general, ShipHawk fully integrates with SPS Commerce, TrueCommerce, B2B Gateway, and other EDI providers that extend ERPs such as NetSuite.

NetSuite-based businesses that are doing SSCC labeling manually today can automate and streamline the process with the ShipHawk WMS, which provides:

  • Ability to generate compliant labels directly from SPS Commerce with no manual entry.
  • Package details / fulfillment details being pushed back to NetSuite’s EDI vendor-specific tab
  • 856 ASN automatically created by ShipHawk inside of NetSuite

The ShipHawk WMS is designed to support barcode scanning of data, including a carton’s SSCC-18 label. In general, the ShipHawk WMS offers a “scan-and-go” approach: any element can be scanned by an operator (rather than time-consuming, error-prone manual entry), and ShipHawk WMS will validate the data and automatically move forward with the task at hand.

For your enterprise, you can partner with ShipHawk to use the ShipHawk TMS and WMS together as a unified solution or use them separately, depending on the business processes you need to manage.

Optimize Your SSCC Process with ShipHawk

ShipHawk provides highly scalable warehouse and fulfillment solutions that fit your company’s needs and help drive its growth. ShipHawk’s full, built-in support of SSCC is just one example of the many ways ShipHawk can optimize your warehousing and fulfillment requirements. The largest companies in the world are setting today’s buyer expectations. To compete, you need access to the tools used by the world’s biggest companies. To find out more, contact us today

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