The Big Kahuna of labels. The Main Event. The Alpha Dog.
The GS1-128 is important because it is an essential link as your item moves through the supply chain. The information it contains identifies the contents of the carton. If you want to impress a crowd of label fanatics, just say, “Well, I put on the GS1-128 with its Serialized Shipping Container Code and man, did that feel good. And yes, I call it the GS1-128, even though I know some people still call it the UCC-128. I’m just that knowledgeable about labels.”
Or, maybe not. Whatever the case, here’s how things go down with the GS1-128. With our software, Lingo, a serialized number is created when the carton is packed. When the label is printed, it turns that number into a bar code. When the retailer receives the carton, they scan the bar code, which needs to match up with the ASN they have received for the shipment. (That’s why you need to get that ASN to the retailer prior to the shipment, or else the whole thing falls apart like the end of a good game of Jenga. The ASN has the information about the exact contents of the container, so the GS1-128 needs to match up.)
To create GS1-128 labels, you do need to buy a GS1 Company Prefix. Buy a GS1 Company Prefix that will accommodate the number of UPCs you need for your products. But take note — the length of your prefix will affect the cost — a shorter prefix is more expensive, since it allows you to generate the most number of UPCs. In other words, buy the right-sized Company Prefix — don’t spend more for one that’s shorter than is required for your product line. Even if you have plans or dreams of owning a company with millions of products, be realistic about your needs. Your GS1 Company Prefix will also be used as part of the number that will be on your GS1-128 labels, which you will adhere to your cartons and pallets as required by your retailer.