GS1 US Issues Guideline for Order Consolidation in Apparel and General Merchandise

EWING, N.J., May 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- GS1 US®, in collaboration with leading North American apparel and general merchandise brands, retailers and solution providers, has published the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Guideline – Order Consolidation Best Practices, offering industry-supported recommendations for consolidating multiple purchases across multiple departments into a single carton to reduce shipping and handling costs while improving sustainability.

Members of the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Industry Initiative developed the new Guideline after recognizing a need to improve supply chain agility and better serve the needs of today's environmentally conscious consumers. It offers a standards-based approach for order consolidation, to help enable delivery of more units per carton – reducing waste, packing materials and freight costs, as well as shipping and handling expenses. The Guideline also outlines best practices for leveraging data standards to share information about the consolidation of purchase orders by the brand owner and the retailer.

"Without a common practice for order consolidation, brands have had to implement different methods based on each retailer's implementation process," said Susan Pichoff, senior director, Community Engagement, GS1 US. "Since many retailers have minimum carton sizes and weights, a small product could be shipped in a larger box than necessary – effectively shipping 'air,' which is highly inefficient and wasteful."

Order consolidation helps shippers reduce material costs for boxes, tape, labels and packing materials, such as foam peanuts and air pillows. Using fewer cartons per shipment lowers labor costs associated with building the shipping cartons and filling, loading and unloading them. It also enables optimized cube utilization for each package, which helps improve trailer capacity, reduces fuel costs and shrinks the shipment's carbon footprint.

The Guideline provides recommendations for creating, managing and sharing consolidated Advanced Ship Notices (ASNs) and consolidated Purchase Orders (POs) across business operations. This guidance is applicable to all North American companies trading products in the general merchandise and apparel sector including, but not limited to, cosmetics, jewelry, footwear, fashion accessories, apparel and sportswear, sporting goods, home fashion, DIY, small appliances and other general merchandise categories.

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