Scan4Transport encodes transport data on a Logistics Label

The global standard supports companies across the transport process including sortation, first and last mile activities, and enables them to keep pace with customers’ needs

Edson Perin

GS1 Australia is testing with other countries what is called Scan4Transport, a global standard for encoding transport data on a Logistics Label. The standard supports companies across the transport process including first mile, sortation and last mile activities and enables them to keep pace with the growing needs of their customers.

The Scan4Transport standard allows the capture of the core data required to complete a transport task by scanning a 2D barcode on a standards-based transport label. Transport data including address information, authority to leave, etc. is encoded into a 2D barcode symbol (a GS1 DataMatrix or GS1 QR-Code) on the transport label to facilitate the transport of all sorts of freight including satchels, cartons and pallets.

“RFID can be used in conjunction with barcodes, but it will require more standard documentation to be developed”, says Michiel Ruighaver, T&L Manager – Scan4Transport Centre of Excellence, GS1 Australia.

Click to watch the full interview on IoP Journal Channel | Youtube

The 2D barcodes are a type of barcode that can have large amounts of data embedded within. One type of 2D barcode is the GS1 DataMatrix. 2D barcodes are particularly useful for storing information relevant to the transport process (e.g. Ship to Address, Dangerous Goods Information, Weight) as it enables the information to be available in both on-line and off-line environments by simply scanning the barcode. The new Application Identifiers released are part of this standard. They unambiguously indicate the meaning of the data element following it. Enabling the data to be encoded in a globally standard manner that all stakeholders can understand.

By using the standards developed for the transport label, the possible benefits include improve first and last mile processes through the capture of essential information relating to the transport task from the barcode on the transport label (e.g. when the freight is handled and scanned before the electronic instructions have been received).

Scan4Transport helps to enhance sortation through the capture of granular address information including street from the barcode on the transport label, gives visibility of transport task requirements even if the remote IT systems are unavailable for look- up, and improves efficiency and interoperability across industry through a standard label across the entire supply chain. “All this leads to smoother processes and greater customer satisfaction”, says Ruighaver.

How Scan4Transport works

“Following feedback from Shippers and Logistic Service Providers seeking a more standardised approach to encode key transport information in a 2D barcode on the logistics label, GS1 Australia initiated a Work Request in 2018 to have GS1 Supply Chain Standards developed”, according to Ruighaver. The Scan4Transport global working group was subsequently established in January 2019, chaired by Michiel Ruighaver from GS1 Australia.

“The group has representatives from Logistic Service Providers, Shippers, Solution Providers and GS1 Member Organizations from around the world and is focused on enabling improved efficiency, interoperability, connectivity and visibility challenges across the Freight & Logistics process due to the fragmented nature of the industry, The Scan4Transport Standards developed were ratified August 2020”, says Ruighaver.

A global industry workgroup, containing members from freight transport companies around the world including AusPost, DHL, Correios Brazil and VT Freight Express, developed new Application Identifiers (AI). These identifiers are for encoding transport data on the logistics label. They also developed a new Implementation Guideline and pilot report which outlines how to leverage the GS1 Digital Link standard within a 2D barcode on the logistics label. These standards focus on improving efficiency, interoperability and visibility across the transport process, particularly in last mile activities.

The group had broad representation and support from shippers, logistic service providers, solution providers and GS1 member organisations from more than 22 countries around the world. It promises to bring improved efficiencies across the sector.

According to Odarci Roque de Maia Junior, RFID Project Manager at Correios Brazil – Brazilian Post, “the Scan4Transport standards represent the possibility of using market standardized and interoperable technology. Its use in the future will certainly allow the company to properly operate its processes, providing adequate logistics services to its customers, even in unfavourable technical conditions, such as remote locations (e.g. rural areas) where there is poor coverage of cellular telephony signals and/or data communication, or in contingency situations (e.g. loss of connectivity or communications).”

Karl Brooks, IT Solutions Architect at DHL Supply Chain Australia, said “the Scan4Transport standards will provide additional resilience at times when electronic transport instructions have not been received. This includes through our automated sortation and routing processes, as well as first and final mile execution. Scan4Transport will also enhance the partner carriers processes we work with in the same way. End result will be enhancing the quality of service for our customers throughout their supply chain.”

Some videos and links are available to know more about Scan4Transport:

Click here to watch the full interview (IoP Journal exclusive) with Michiel Ruighaver, T&L Manager – Scan4Transport Centre of Excellence.

Click here to watch “Scan4Transport – A Tale of 2 labels”, which compares the traditional freight transport label with the new Scan4Transport label.

Click here to watch “Scan4Transport Pilot Report”.

Click here to watch “Scan4Transport website which contains links to the guideline, tools to support pilots/implementation and other useful links.