What is a Serial Shipping Container Code?

A Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) uniquely identifies an individual logistic unit, such as a pallet or case, from the sender to the final recipient. Think of it as a number plate that uniquely identifies every car. The SSCC ensures the pallet’s movements can be individually tracked and traced throughout distribution and transport, all the way to the end receiver.

Retailers rely on SSCC labels to efficiently and accurately process inbound pallets. By scanning the SSCC on the pallet label, they can automate the receiving process and reduce human error and misidentification. The SSCC is an 18-digit number commonly shown as a GS1-128 barcode, ensuring the pallet can be tracked and traced through the entire supply chain.

Importance of SSCC Pallet Labels

The SSCC is the GS1 Identification Key for an item established for transport and/or storage which needs to be managed through the supply chain. It is assigned for the lifetime of the pallet and is a mandatory element on the GS1 Logistic Label using Application Identifier (00).

The SSCC is created by the pallet’s originator and is stored in their database, containing all relevant information about the pallet. When the pallet is picked to fulfill a customer order, the supplier notifies all trade partners involved in distribution and logistics about the SSCC and its corresponding pallet. This enables tracking throughout the entire supply chain. SSCC check digits are calculated similarly to EAN-13 check digits.

Benefits of SSCC Labels

  • Faster receiving and quick turnaround for retailers
  • Improved pallet tracking from sender to retailer, assisting with product recalls
  • Enhanced data integrity, including use-by dates and quantity fields
  • Better stock rotation based on use-by date
  • Easy to use label format that can be printed quickly by most warehouse printers
  • Opportunities for cross docking, shipment routing, automated receiving, etc.

Compliant SSCC Labelling

Your pallet labelling must comply with GS1 and retailer standards. Incorrect labelling can lead to stock rejection, damage to customer relationships, and penalties from retailers. Both Label Printer Applicators (LPAs) and Label Printers produce fully compliant SSCC labels, combining human-readable text and scannable symbols. Key elements include content, size, and application.

Integrated, Automated Pallet Labelling

Enhance efficiency and accuracy by integrating your SSCC label into your pallet labeller on your production line. With the right software, you can automate the print, apply, and verification process for both the GTIN carton and pallet label. Integrating a Label Printer Applicator into your ERP or WMS allows for seamless operation. For instance, a forklift scanner can book stock into the WMS system as pallets are moved.

Common Pallet Label Issues

To ensure your SSCC labels are effective, avoid common pitfalls such as:

  • Incorrect label position
  • Missing labels
  • Duplicated or mismatched SSCC labels
  • Damaged labels
  • Labels that do not scan
  • Labels under stretch wrap
  • Labels on one side only
  • Incorrect product labels (SSCC number reused in the past 12 months)


Get Started with SSCC Labels

SSCC labels are essential for all pallets and units used as logistics units, playing a crucial role in identifying each pallet or carton and its contents. Ensure your business meets these requirements for efficient and accurate logistics management.

For more information or to get started with SSCC label printing, contact ILS today. Our solutions ensure your labels are compliant and meet the highest standards for supply chain management.

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