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GS1 US Releases Guideline to Cut Down on Shipping Costs and Environmental Impact

A newly released memo from GS1 US provides brands and retailers with guidance on how to consolidate purchase orders and reduce shipping waste.

The report, entitled “GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Guideline–Order Consolidation Best Practices,” was compiled in cooperation with leading apparel and general merchandise brands, retailers and logistics solutions providers. The document offers solutions for consolidating orders into a single carton, reducing shipping costs and improving efficiency.

Consumer consciousness about environmental stewardship and sustainable practices has reached new heights in recent months, prompting brands, retailers and supply chain operators to rethink materials, processes and packaging. While online shopping shows no signs of slowing, there is growing concern about the impact of the countless packages arriving on doorsteps every day.

“Without a common practice for order consolidation, brands have had to implement different methods based on each retailer’s implementation process,” Susan Pichoff, senior director of community engagement at GS1 US, said in a statement. “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.”

Consolidating orders allows shippers to reduce costs for packing materials, boxes, tape and labels. It also saves on labor costs, cutting efforts in building, loading and unloading cartons. Streamlining these processes can ultimately help optimize cube utilization for each package (filling them with product, not air), improve trailer capacity and reduce fuel costs. Altogether, these efforts can reduce a shipment’s carbon footprint, GS1 US said in a statement.

The guidelines, which the organization said are applicable to all North American brands and retailers selling general merchandise and apparel, provide insights on how to optimally manage Advanced Ship Notices and consolidated Purchase Orders across business operations.

GS1 global, which encompasses GS1 US, is a non-profit organization that aims to help improve supply chain efficiency and transparency, bringing together expertise from businesses and logistics providers.