Advance ship notices given thumbs up in pilotA Produce Traceability Initiative pilot project testing the advance ship notice compared with the hybrid pallet label found big advantages in the first option, according to Steve Roosdahl, director of supply chain management for The Oppenheimer Group.

The pilot project, which also included Safeway and iTradeNetwork, showed that the advance ship notice provided a more efficient way of sharing traceability data and provided additional benefits to suppliers and buyers compared with the hybrid pallet label, he said. Both the hybrid pallet tag and the Electronic Data Interchange-generated advance ship notice address PTI milestone six, which is the ability for receivers to read and store Global Trade Item Numbers and lot information on inbound cases.

A purchase order from the buyer begins the process of creating an advance ship notice, Roosdahl said. The advance ship notice can be constructed automatically with the pallet number, the quantity of produce cases on the pallet, the Global Trade Item Numbers in the pallet and other details. That information is then sent electronically from the supplier to the receiver as the product is shipped.

In contrast, Roosdahl said the hybrid pallet label must be printed at the time pallets are built, and then reprinted if there are changes in the pallet prior to shipping.

According to the project, benefits of the advance ship notice include:


  • reduced costs for suppliers due to not using hybrid pallet labels
  • reduced costs for receivers since scanning of inbound hybrid pallet labels is not needed
  • improved inventory and warehouse management for receivers due to advance knowledge of shipment and
  • elimination of missing data errors caused by missing or damaged hybrid pallet labels. 


The study found that, based on Oppenheimer"s volume, savings generated using the advance ship notice compared with the hybrid pallet label would total $120,000 per year. More than that, the pilot project found that the advance ship notice offers more reliable exchange of data.

A report about the study can be found online.

 Based on reduced cost and lower labor requirements, Roosdahl said be believes most of the industry will use the advance ship notice to fulfill traceability requirements. "If the hybrid pallet (label is used), it will be a very small percentage," he said. He believes larger retailers will stipulate that their suppliers use the advance ship notice. "Hybrid pallet (labels) is a solution that not many receivers will want to adopt," he said. In addition, he said that electronic data interchange necessary for the advance ship notice solution is becoming much more common and affordable in the produce supply chain. "ASN can be a solution for somebody that doesn"t have a lot of technology," he said.

 Angelea Fernandez, vice president of consumer product goods/grocery for GS1 US, said there are no specific breakdowns on the percentages of marketers who use the advance ship notice compared with the hybrid pallet label. In October, Fernandez estimated that between 60% and 80% of produce cases carry a PTI-compliant label.

""The PTI Leadership Council strongly supports the use advance ship notice as the preferred method of exchanging traceability data," she said in an e-mail. "The Hybrid Pallet Labels is the interim solution intended to support the industry as it moves toward implementing advance ship notices and improving electronic exchange of traceability information."