For Easy Shipping: Understanding the Usage of Army Shipment Stickers

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) has an information booklet for their suppliers. This gives complete instructions on the different stickers attached on shipments. This is to comply with the MIL-STD 129 standard directives for classifying and identifying the shipments delivered to DOD.

These are called Military Shipping Labels (MSL). Every shipment supplied to DOD has to have a relevant sticker on it. These are intended to work in combination with other established MIL-STD 129 stickers. These are necessary to make the receiving dock at the DOD function with precision. This also helps in making accurate payments to suppliers promptly. Apart from all the required details of the shipment, it also gives information on the supplier and the ultimate destination of the shipping consignment.

PDF417 Example

These military shipping labels have three important parts. Each part contains a number of detailed information pertaining to that particular container:

  1. PDF417 2D barcode – This contains the “to and from” addresses, piece numbers, weight, date of shipping, National stock and transportation numbers (NSN and TCN), Project code, unit price and other details.
  2. Code 39 linear barcode – This has the TCN, numbers of pieces in one shipping unit, and the final consignee.
  3. Human Readable — This also contains the TCN, consignor address, mode of shipments, weight, project code, date shipped, total number of pieces in one unit etc.

There are three options of stickers to choose from. First is the readymade type to be peeled and stuck on the shipments. This is done with thermal transfer printing technology. The second type is embedded with RFID that enables easy tracking. The third is where the ready-to-use stickers are mailed to the suppliers and they have to print them.

These stickers are necessary for every single shipment units, loose crates, containers, and palletized items, among others. According the guidelines from Milpac, ‘one shipment unit’ is generally the outer container. A ‘palletized item’ refers to a number of items, both packed and loose, kept together in an organized manner. This is a unit strapped in such a way that it can be handled as one item. They’re to be stuck on the left side of the container at the upper portion. It should not be placed at the top or bottom part of the consignment, unless particularly specified in the contract. One sticker has to be stuck on each of the full truckload or full railcar carrying the shipment.