The Warehouse USA - November, 2015
1. Why Should I Barcode?

Barcoding allows scanners to identify products quickly and accurately. Scanning is simply more accurate than a human reading a long string of characters for either SKUs or UPCs. In our world, 99% of the errors are the result of human error: missing a digit, mistaking a letter O as number zero, a 5 as letter S, etc. Using scanning technology eliminates such errors once and for all.

This would result in task verification, more accurate inventory data, streamlined shipping, more solid tracking, and faster processing time. The end result is that we will be able to provide you with better quality of services!

2. To What Package Level Should I Barcode?

At the minimum, the warehouse would need to identify the items and quantity in each handling (selling) unit. For example, if you would require us to process orders at the master carton level, then each master carton will need barcoded identification of the contents. If you require us to handle at the inner pack level, then inner packs (as well as the master cartons) also must be barcoded.

Also consider how the product might be received in our building. For the example provided above, the LARGER of the two carton levels (in this case, the master carton) would streamline the receiving process and allow us to process your goods more quickly.

Therefore, you would want to barcode at each level where you would require us to handle your products.

To illustrate the necessity of the above barcoding principle, let us assume that your master cartons contain 24 items in 4 inner packs of 6 units each. Let us also assume that your master cartons are barcoded, so by scanning the master cartons we know the total inventory (24) upon receiving. Later, you would like us to fill orders at the inner pack quantity (6) level. If the inner packs are not barcoded, it would require human involvement to maintain the integrity of inventory and shipping data accuracy, which leads to loss of speed and room for human errors.

3. What Barcode Standard Should I Use?

For our purposes, it does not really matter as long as the bar code can UNIQUELY identify the product within your own pool of products. So you may use your own SKU numbering convention. However, it is good practice to use industry standards. Furthermore, many retailers require UPC marking. So if you already have UPCs for your products, please use them. We also recommend (but not require) that you use the GTIN-14 standard, which contains both the UPC and digit indicating the package level. This is not required, but would make our lives a bit easier, and more importantly, would serve you well in the long run with your trading partners.

Important: whatever identification method you finally decide to use, it needs to be consistent with the Item Master file and the ASN you send us. So if you change the identification method in the process, for example, if you switch from using your own SKU numbers to using UPC, you need to update your Item Master and all future ASN’s!

The following links have good explanation on the details on UPC and GTIN-14



4. What Should I Do Next?

If you are already barcoding your products, just make sure that you bar code them at all packaging levels that you would want us to handle (See #2 above).

Contact your manufacturers: affixing barcode labels is most easily done at the manufacturing stage. So contact your manufacturers to require bar coding at various package levels. Chances are that they already have experience doing it, but have not done so for you because they have not been asked.

If you are doing it yourself, there are a lot of free barcode generators on the internet, such as this link

We can generate and affix the barcode labels for you in the warehouse at a discounted rate before March 31st , 2016. This is usually more expensive than the manufacturer’s rate.

Important: Please remember to use the same identification method in your Item Master and ASN that you send us!

5. When Do I Need To Get This Done?

As soon as possible. The sooner you do this, the sooner you will enjoy the benefits brought by automation process and accurate information.

We are upgrading our system that would gradually phase out the manual handling of the goods. In the beginning of 2016, the system upgrade will be complete and put into use. And by March 31st , 2016, the system roll-out will be complete.

6. Whom Can I Contact If I have questions?

Please email us at if you have specific questions.

If your manufacturers prefer to communicate in Chinese, please contact our Shanghai office:




A copy of this FAQ translated in Chinese can be found here中文