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The Global Language of Business

What is a Mixed pallet?

Logistic units are of two types:

  • When they contain only one item/article/product with the same GTIN and same properties (Batch Number, Best Before date…). In GS1 terminology this is called a Homogenous logistic unit.
  • When they contain different types of products or packages, often from different suppliers or manufacturers they are called heterogenous or mixed logistics units. It is a common practice in retail distribution, as it allows for more efficient use of space and transportation resources.

GS1 standards for logistic labels are excellent for listing the properties of contained article using application identifiers (AIs), but when dealing with mixed logistic units (MLU), there is a problem how to list all the attributes of the contained articles, since there are too many of them to be put into barcodes on the logistic label. Existing recommendation from GS1 is, that in such cases Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) should be used.

The problem is that the integration of EDI for small companies is too complex and too expensive, so MLU are sent and received with paper documents only. Such units are practically without exceptions accompanied by a paper, listing all items contained in the unit and their properties. This paper is called Pack List.

Besides delays and more complex processes when receiving such units there are also some challenges, such as:

  •  How to identify and track the individual items on the pallet?
  •  How to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the pallet content?
  •  How to reduce the time and labor required for scanning and sorting the pallets/contents?

These challenges can be solved by using high capacity 2D barcodes, such as GS1 Data Matrix or GS1 QR codes, to encode the content of the mixed pallets. A 2D barcode can store much more information than a traditional 1D barcode, such as:

  • The number and type of items on the pallet
  • The origin and destination of the pallet
  • The expiration date and batch number of each item
  • The serial number and warranty information of each item

By encoding this information into a 2D barcode, you can benefit from:

  • Faster and easier scanning and verification of the pallets
  • Reduced errors and losses due to misidentification or misplacement of items
  • Improved traceability and quality control of the products
  • Enhanced partner satisfaction and loyalty

GS1 can help you in the future to implement this solution by providing you with:

  • The standards and guidelines for creating and reading 2D barcodes
  • The tools and software for generating and printing 2D barcodes
  • The training and support for using 2D barcodes in your operations

If you are interested in learning more about this possibility, please contact us:


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MLUI References

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