Update on the European labelling iniative

Odette International has established a European work group in order to share information arising from various reviews of automotive logistics labelling standards which are currently being undertaken at the national level in several Odette countries.

The challenge is to find a solution between label standards that are very flexible (not so good for suppliers) and those that are too strict (not good for anyone). Investments made by the industry in the current label standards mean that we must also go for evolution rather than revolution in order to ensure widespread acceptance and adoption by the industry. More than 20 delegates representing OEMs, Suppliers and Logistics Service Providers from across Europe participated in the kick off meeting of the Odette Labelling Group which took place in France in January.

The key points agreed were:

  • A common template for all labels would be desirable with varying size to meet the needs of new package formats and covering American and European size restrictions.
  • Basic common data need to be standardised whilst keeping a flexible zone for company specific information.
  • Shipping information must be included to avoid relabeling by forwarders in more complex supply chain processes.
  • Unique package identification throughout the logistics process is needed to enable the use of the same label throughout the process.
  • Auto ID and printing technologies were reviewed. 2D barcode will be considered to replace the various 1D codes and only the Unique ID should remain as a 1D Code. RFID is desirable, but the additional cost of this technology needs careful examination.
  • Roll-out processes must be improved and leaner qualification processes must be adopted by OEMs in order to reduce supplier resistance. Change implementation is currently too expensive for both OEMs and suppliers.
  • The development of a standardised human readable shipping document should also be considered. A laser printed A4 document, including a 2D barcode, would be used as back-up to facilitate a semi-automatic receiving process, in case of a breakdown in the electronic information flow.

A sub-group is currently being formed to coordinate developments at the European level and a general meeting will be organised later this year. This topic will also be presented in detail at the Odette2015 Conference on 30 Nov/1 Dec in Munich.