Edition 92
Cradle to Grave Labeling: One label to do it all!
by Bruce Brown, Founder and CEO, Informission Solutions LLC /RLA Standards Committee

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One of the costliest aspects of logistics operations is finding the right information! While optical scanners have reduced transcription errors and increased speed, their proliferation has cluttered packaging. Now, the problem is finding the right label!



The Reverse Logistics Association created and now manages a new ANSI standard protocol that enables the consolidation of labels.

One label does it all—consolidating all the information required in shipping and receiving, from warehousing to final disposal. Our One Label also facilitates single swipe scanning—ideal for automated systems. Since QR codes can contain up to 4000 characters by the current standard, all of the information required for efficient logistics management can be included in a single label. What makes the difference is our protocol that standardizes the field delimiters (how to include multiple fields and separate them) and provides a standardized dictionary of filed titles. Thus labels can use short-cuts to create a string of fields and therefore encode multiple fields. The example above, taken from an actual refrigeration.

Using only 94 characters—with short URL’s, this encoding will produce the label shown above when read with a reader programmed to recognize the protocol(1). It includes company name (B000) Model Number (Boo2) Serial Number (B005), the UPC code (G029) and a link to detailed product information (Boo3).



With capacity for 4000 characters. there is room for so much more: the manufacturer could add fields for accessories, extended warranties, and recycling information. There would still be room for more fields of data. From a logistics perspective, adding carton dimensions, weight, GS 1, GHS, MSDS codes and information can all be consolidated into one label. There would still be room for more information. One label, indeed, can do it all!

By the way, some of the data can be encrypted and other parts not. The protocol supports multiple languages and currencies. Stringing multiple fields can create block chain applications. The protocols can be ported and converted to other symbologies such as RFID or Matrix Code.

We envision a day when, with geo-tagging, a consumer could scan the code on the back of their old refrigerator and recycling centers could/would actually bid for permission to come pick it up As we improve our technologies for refurbishing and recycling, and with proper labeling, the end-of-life value of the product could be accurately communicated with the press of a single button.

For more information, please visit the RLA webpage, www.rla.org/sqrl. There you will find a listing our the Field Identifiers and instructions on how to use them. You are also invited to communicate with our Standards Committee at sqrl@rltinc.com. We are currently seeking pilot projects to help with the launch of this exciting new approach to product labeling.

(1) We expect that as the standard proliferates, most free readers will be adapted to recognize the command. The RLA will also produce a free reader.
RLM

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