Pallet Label Size and Placement: What You Need to Know

Across the world, pallets are one of the most commonly used transport materials. Looking towards the United States alone, over half a billion pallets are constructed every year, as it takes an estimated two billion pallets to complete shipping duties within the country. It’s estimated that these pallets transport 80% of all US commerce, and on an international scale, the demand for pallets continues to exponentially grow with time. 

Of course, pallets are only valuable when they successfully make it from point A to point B—a journey that requires carefully creating and placing labels onto the items to be shipped. If these labels are placed incorrectly, it can lead to confusion during transit and cause the unit to be returned to the sender or simply lost along the way. Accordingly, if you work in an industry that relies on these transport structures, you must understand what pallet label size and placement should be so you can adhere to common shipment standards. 

With this knowledge, you can ensure that your products are successfully received across the supply chain, even when shipping internationally. 

Pallet Labeling Standards

Today’s shipping systems rely on scannable labels that communicate where a unit originates from, where it’s headed, and what is packaged inside. Although this need for codes is shared across both international borders and industry lines, there is no one code that all organizations use. 

Instead, a variety of standards exist, each championed by different corporations and industry bodies. However, nearly all of these different systems share one characteristic: the serial shipping container code (SSCC), more commonly known as the barcode.

With standards set by the international business organization Global Standard One (GS1), barcodes consist of serialized numbers that make accurate tracking/inventory control possible. The globally recognized GS1 Logistic Label Guideline outlines the specific characteristics needed from these codes to ensure safe travel. Within this document, the organization also sets standards for pallet label size and placement. 

Some of the most important details include:

  • Labels vary in size: Several factors influence the overall size of the label: the required shipping data, the barcode’s dimensions, and the dimensions of the logistic unit the label is placed on.
  • Pallets need a large label: In section 7.1, the recommended pallet label size is six inches by 8 inches. This is larger than a standard label as it includes room for additional item data (e.g., unit dimensions, weight, billing numbers, etc.)
  • Label placement depends on the height of the unit: The guidelines divide pallet placement into two categories based on whether they are over or under a height of 16 inches. 
    • For units over 16 inches: the label needs to be placed between 16 inches and 32 inches above the pallet's base.
    • For units under 16 inches: the label needs to be placed as high as possible, with consideration given towards protecting the barcode.
  • Stacked pallets are considered independent units: When groups of pallets are stacked together, each pallet must receive its own label, marked with a unique barcode. However, if these pallets are physically connected using straps or shrink-wrap then they do not each need their own unique barcode. 

Following these guidelines will help your shipments arrive safely at the desired destination. However, you still need hardware to create and apply labels that can last through transit and not cause other issues with your shipment. 

Print and Apply Labelers: Find the Right Model for the Job

When you’re shipping literal tons of products, you need to be assured that the labels you’re placing on your shipments are up to the task. Some less-than-reliable labelers can cause the following problems:

  • Sub-par print quality
  • Constant label jams
  • Failing to adhere to the shipment
  • Unreliable label or character alignment

Each of these mechanical issues will cause their own problems for you and can both impede your day-to-day operation and put your outgoing shipments behind schedule. To avoid these situations, you need a machine that will operate well from the start—like the EvoLabel Print and Apply Labeler

The EvoLabel is very simple to use, as its computer system is intuitive and can connect to external databases and software programs for easy label saving/modification. With a high-quality printhead and roller combination, these machines are optimized for high reliability. However, maintenance is simple to perform which helps you to minimize any periods of downtime for your operation. Additionally, labels can be placed vertically or, if desired, even wrapped around corners. 

Follow Pallet Label Size Standards with the Right Technology

Following GS1 Guidelines for proper pallet label size and placement doesn’t require extensive planning or much difficulty at all. As long as you are printing the correct information on a six-inch by eight-inch label and placing it at the appropriate height and location on your shipment, you will be set up for success. That said, if you don’t have a reliable print and apply labeler, this task will be more complicated and unreliable than it needs to be. 

To protect your products from becoming lost in the supply chain, you need to find the best labeler for your operation. Here at InkJet, Inc., we can help with that. Our organization has been helping enterprises select the hardware that fits their needs for over 25 years. If you have questions on labelers, pallet standards, or anything else related to printing and ink, we’re here to help. 

For more information on pallet label sizes, standards, shipment requirements, or any other questions, contact InkJet, Inc. online or by phone at (800) 280-3245.