What Makes PTI so Hard?
At first glance, it seems fairly straightforward to put a label on every case of produce. But the reality is that managing the complexity of the PTI requirements is harder than it appears:
- PTI requires a GTIN, Lot number and voice pick code on every label. It’s important to spend some time thinking through your strategy for GTIN and Lot number assignments. GTINs are a 14-digit number representing the brand owner and pack style of the product. Each company decides how to structure the GTIN for the pack styles they offer: One for every product you ship? For every commodity? Just one for your company? What about your Lot ID strategy: One per pack run? One per day? One per source lot? Your decisions will impact how you will need to respond in the event of a recall.
- Voice pick codes are the 4 digit number that appears in the lower right corner of the PTI label. This number is computed from the GTIN and Lot ID. It is calculated using a very specific technical hash algorithm, CRC-16, and changes every time the GTIN or Lot Number change.
- The hybrid pallet tag that must go onto a pallet must contain an SSCC bar code as well as barcodes representing each unique GTIN/Lot ID combination and the associated number of cases that is on that pallet.
- The barcodes must conform to the GS-128 print quality standards as specified by GS-1. (Barcodes are a very specific font where the numbers and letter are represented in lines of varying thicknesses.)
- Barcode label printers are different from the laser or ink-jet printers that are in the office. They are designed and optimized specifically to print as many labels as you need on demand, whether that’s only one or several thousand. They have print-heads, not toner cartridges, and use a specific type of labels.
- Designing compliant PTI labels is a time consuming and tedious process. The PTI requires the GTIN Lot ID (in barcode and human-readable formats), and PTI voice pick code on the label. Most receivers also want to see additional information on the labels including commodity, pack style, pack date, and Country of Origin.