Package Measurement Rules
Accurately measuring your products can improve trucking efficiency, increase new product speed-to-market, and improve relationships with your customers. Even a small error or misunderstanding in package measurement can be compounded at the pallet level, resulting in rejected shipments, costs to correct errors, catalog discrepancies, and lost sales. When all trading partners follow the same rules, the chances for errors are much reduced.
These rules are called the GDSN Package Measurement Rules. They support trading partners in sharing a common understanding of package measurements across the world. They also play an important role in communicating product master data electronically between trading partners. The measurement process itself is not difficult. The main issues are awareness, understanding, and proper application of the rules.
The GDSN Package Measurement Rules establish two distinct types of trade items: consumer trade items and non-consumer trade items. Each one has its own set of measurement rules based on specific criteria, as well as specific rules to deal with exceptions.
Consumer trade items are items that are sold at point of sale (at checkout) and are marked with a point-of-sale barcode, typically the UPC-A.
- Your first step is to identify the “default front,” which can often be different from how the product is displayed by a retailer. It’s usually the side that has the promotional copy, like the product name, on it. If more than one side has promotional copy, then the default front would be the side with the largest or highest surface area. For the majority of trade items, determining the default front is easy; however rules exist to address specific exceptions.
- Next, identify the right orientation in which to measure the product. The direction of the text elements on the default front determines the orientation.
- Last, measure the product using height, width, and depth.
Non-consumer trade items are items that do not pass through point of sale and instead pass through warehouses and distribution centers, such as cases or pallets. They are typically marked with GS1-128 or ITF-14 barcodes.
- Your first step is to determine the “natural base” of the item. Typically this is the natural underside of the trade item, but if there are graphics indicating a top or bottom orientation, the marked bottom is the natural base. Determining the natural base is usually easy; however additional rules exist to address specific exceptions.
- Second, measure the product using height, width, and depth.
Note: If your package is marked with both consumer and non-consumer trade item barcodes, follow the rules for a consumer trade item.