The Warehouse Labeling Best Practices to Consider while Loading Products to avoid retail chargebacks, freight claims, damage claims and rejected loads


This is another video on the best practices that you could follow while loading the product in your distribution center. One important thing that you could do is applying the right labels on the product, because when people see the labels they would be careful while handling these products, the pallet, and the merchandise. When you tell them with the label ahead of time they will be a lot more careful about doing their job and this is even more about human psychology.

For example to my developers I prepared this design document, so what we do and that’s a rule that we follow throughout our organization. We put a lot of care in preparing the design spec or whatever we do if it’s a screenshot we do a lot of care and prepare a thorough document that not only addresses all the requirements but also looks clean and nice and because when things are beautiful and they look clean people trust them more.

So the same psychology applies here as well, when you are shipping something you nicely packet and shrink-wrap it and you nicely apply the label and everything looks so clean and on top of it you put these labels with proper instructions. There are so many different labels that you can put and you can even make custom labels based on your specific product or specific conditions of your product. It just adds tremendous value and this human psychology works really well. When you do all that great job and apply this label and give it to them, give it to a carrier or person on the other end or a 3PL there is the humans. Humans are always mirror, they do what other people do, I mean if you go and smile at a person the person will smile back at you and if you go and  yell at a person, the person will yell back at you so that’s how humans operate. 

When you do that quality job they’re like “oh my god, oh these guys are really good”,  this is what we got to show, the best quality while moving this load as well so there are a lot of labels so some of the do not labels are do not stack, do not double stack, do not ship, do not accept damage, do not forklift, do not break down the skids (skid is a pallet here), do not crush, do not forklift here. If there’s one specific area where there could be a glass or there could be something fragile you should do not break this stretch wrap. There are some other labels such as do not drop, do not bend, do not open the sharp object, you should be careful while you are opening the sharp object. If it’s a fancy refrigerator or something you might accidentally mark scratches. There are some other labels such as do not inventory – it’s usually for corrugated products used as a packing material , do not break the banding, do not top load, do not lay flat if it’s  something like a mirror. 

You could also use bilingual labels. I mean, I see all the time if you go to Texas or if you go to even in California  you see  Spanish people all the time and sometimes they come at a low cost. In certain DC’s for cost reasons they use that type of label so if clearly if you are going to be dealing with spanish-speaking people then you might as well put those bilingual labels so they understand easily and make the whole process easier for everybody you get better engagement from everybody. If you think it makes sense to use bilingual labels then go for it. 

Also en-close labels and what is enclosed here are packing lists, additional parts documents enclosed, export documents enclosed, instructions enclosed, invoice enclosed, SDS (safety data sheet) enclosed, sample enclosed, there are additional parts are inside, sharp objects are inside. If you don’t want a safety situation and if there is a sharp object you better call it out so the person on the other end is aware and they’re slowly opening it, They’re not  cutting themselves or something like that. If it’s heavy, add “lift carefully”, because if it’s heavy you cannot just lift like that, you have to squat and lift that’s an important safety procedure. 

I’ve seen 99% of the warehouses use long forks only and if it’s a temperature sensitive object, I mean you have to refrigerate the product upon arrival. There are other product handling labels such as fragile, handle with care, mixed pallet meaning there are multiple items in the pallet, and then there are mixed UPCs. The item will be the same but the UPC might be different because it’s being manufactured in two different places. 

Then there is refrigerated upon arrival, if it’s a temperature sensitive product inspect for damage before accepting and if there’s damage – do not accept if there is damage, then we have labels such as top load only and then if it makes sense there are labels such as  made in the USA, made in China If there is some kind of country of origin tracking going on and if it makes sense  you could do that. Then there are labels such as tamper resistant and then hot to rush priority order, if it’s a hot order that you’re  pushing it through some kind of third party then you won’t be aware that this is a hot order and this needs to go pretty fast. You don’t want that to be left there whatever and then are even high gloss labels sometimes. 

The high gloss label gets extra attention and they pay a lot more attention to it and then there are labels such as trash or recycle sometimes if the item is trash. Then there are labels such as freeze upon arrival, if it’s a temperature sensitive item and if it’s a frozen item you should then keep it frozen. Keep it refrigerated, perishable all those labels  just show how much care you’re putting in your product and the humans mirror them, so the other party will do a better job if you do that label. 

Even if you need to create a custom label and obviously write that do not stack and they do not stack cones and there are so many tools that are available to do a great job so people on the other end realize “oh my God – look these people do a great, great job. Hopefully this is helpful, and please share this video with your friends and co-workers. Let us know if there is anything else we can do for you in the comments section below.

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Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. SG LoadProof is a patent pending Centralized Enterprise Photo/Video Document System on Cloud for Supply Chain. SG LP is built on the fact that photos & videos are vital docs as important as POs/SOs/Legal Contracts/Fulfillment Orders that reside in ERP/WMS/TMS systems, that serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal proof of crucial, critical, vital operations executed in Supply Chain within/across orgs when fulfilling customer orders as well as meeting contractual obligations between orgs as merchandise is transferred between different parties that partake in Supply Chain functions & operations. And these photos/videos data should not be stored in someone’s Smartphone or Email Inbox or in their personal/work Computer, but should be stored in a Centralized Enterprise system, where such data can be pushed into super-fast, stored securely, accessible to all stake holders (CFO/Sales Reps/Customer Support/AR/AP) in an org, as well as facilitates super-fast retrieval/sharing. LP is an Enterprise System of record for Photo/Video docs & is as important as an ERP which is an enterprise system of record for POs, SOs, Legal Contracts between parties etc. that have huge legal ramifications, also as important as a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that hold indispensable shipment & fulfillment data on orders. Like how Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. have evolved into social media platforms/systems that enable individuals to showcase their beauty/pretty clothes/lovely cosmetics/hep coolness etc., LoadProof is an Enterprise system that holds similar photos/videos, but for a different reason, not for show off, but to serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal & indisputable system of record and proof that can be presented even in the court of law, when there is a dispute between parties while they execute many facets of the Supply Chain functions & operations. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 25 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at Also follow him at

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