Royal Mail Customer Solutions. Barcodes and Tracking Numbers. C O S S S p e c 0 3. It specifically covers barcode fonts and the check digit algorithm.

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1 C O S S S p e c 0 3 Royal Mail Customer Solutions Barcodes and Tracking Numbers The COSS Spec 03 document details, for customers, the barcode and tracking number specification for all of Royal Mail s trackable services. It specifically covers barcode fonts and the check digit algorithm. This specification must be used with the relevant accompanying specifications for customers wishing to interface their systems with Royal Mail services. 21 st June 2013 Version 1.1 Page 1 of 8

2 Contents 1 Document Control Terms and abbreviations Document author and document location Version history Document review and distribution Document approval and sign-off Overview Barcode Production Number Ranges (Formatting) Number Ranges (Testing) Number Ranges (General Maintenance) Barcode Standards Modulus 11 Check Digit Algorithm...7 Page 2 of 8

3 1 Document Control 1.1 Terms and abbreviations Term Meaning BIG Business Integration Gateway COSS RMGTT TODS Customer Own System Solution Royal Mail Group Track & Trace Tracking Operational Data Store 1.2 Document author and document location Name Simon Dodd Role and organisation Customer Solutions Consultant Business IT (Commercial) Technology Organisation 1.3 Version history Version Date Author Notes /05/2013 Simon Dodd Draft version for review /06/2013 Simon Dodd Finalised version following review /06/2013 Simon Dodd Corrected reference to incorrect document 1.4 Document review and distribution Version Date issued for review Recipient name Role/Position & Department /05/2013 Sharon Palmer Special Delivery Guaranteed Reviewer comments Date review completed 13/06/ /05/2013 Tony Boyle Local Collect 13/06/ /05/2013 Mark Sherborne Parcels 13/06/ /05/2013 Robert X Woods International 13/06/ /05/2013 Tim Bowles Tracked 13/06/ /05/2013 Nancy Tolhurst Head of Core Network Parcels Major Change 13/06/ Document approval and sign-off Version Approval date Name Role/Position/Business unit /06/2013 Tony Utting Head of Product Management Page 3 of 8

4 2 Overview Royal Mail contract customers using barcoded services can develop their own systems to produce appropriate barcode labels directly from their own systems. These labels must adhere to a high quality of readability and follow specific guidelines for content, colour and layout. The customer system must also create the appropriate despatch documentation needed for collection of the parcels. The customer system may also need to interface with Royal Mail systems if electronic data needs to be shared for reporting purposes, or if collection data is a pre-requisite of the service used. This guide specifically focuses on barcode generation, providing a detailed explanation on the check digit algorithm and our barcode standards. It also provides test tracking number ranges for Royal Mail barcoded services. Customers wishing to develop or implement a system to produce barcode labels should gain agreement from Royal Mail before commencing work. Labels produced are subject to approval by Royal Mail before being used, and live barcode number ranges will not be issued before this approval is given. Further sample labels will also need to be submitted to Royal Mail periodically for quality checks. Note that following approval, any changes or additions to the outputs relating to Royal Mail despatches will also need to be discussed and validated before implementation. This includes the addition of new services. Customers should address initial enquiries regarding development of systems for these purposes to their account handler. Page 4 of 8

5 3 Barcode Production 3.1 Number Ranges (Formatting) Royal Mail barcode numbers are in the form of a 13 alphanumeric sequence. Customers who use their own systems to create the shipping barcodes, the following numbering scheme is to be used AANNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNAA (e.g. FF GB GB) Key Represents AA Product Prefix Two alpha characters part of the allocated number range for each service. For test purposes, the prefix TT is issued, but live number ranges may be assigned any 2 letter prefix. Note: These prefixes may be different for each service and each subsequent issue of additional range. NNNNNNNN Item Identifier An eight-digit number that is unique within each range prefix. Part of the allocated number range, and should be assigned sequentially. Note: Different ranges will be issued for each service and each subsequent issue of additional range. N Check Digit You will need to calculate this t modulus 11 check digit for which the algorithm is specified in section 3.5. AA Country of Origin Code There is only one code a UK customer can use: GB = Great Britain Page 5 of 8

6 3.2 Number Ranges (Testing) Before live posting may commence, a minimum of 10 consecutive sample labels for each service must be submitted to Royal Mail for barcode quality, number and label format validation. Customers should use the specific test number range described below. A live barcode range will be issued when the development work has been validated by the Royal Mail Customer Solutions Team. Service Tracked 24 No Sig Tracked 24 Signature Tracked 48 No Sig Tracked 48 Signature Tracked High Volume 24 No Sig Tracked High Volume 24 Signature Tracked High Volume 48 No Sig Tracked High Volume 48 Signature Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm Royal Mail 24 Signed For Royal Mail 48 Signed For Royal Mail Airsure Royal Mail International Signed For Range start number TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB Range end number Range total TT222201GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB TT GB The test ranges and live ranges will carry different prefixes as well as different numerical elements, so the prefixes should not be hard coded. 3.3 Number Ranges (General Maintenance) Separate number ranges will be issued, and must be held by the customer s system, for each service being used. Note that each number in each range may be used once only. Where more than one item is sent to the same address on the same day, each must carry a different barcode number. However spoiled numbers (e.g. where a despatch is cancelled) do not need to be used in a subsequent despatch, and may be skipped. The customer s system will need to manage each number range as follows Record the prefix, and the start and end of each range, and the service, compensation level etc relevant to each. Record the last number used in each range. Allocate the next available number when a label is required. Calculate the checkdigit each time a number is used. Report when any range is nearly exhausted, so that a request can be made to Royal Mail for additional numbers. We advise allowing at least four weeks for this process. Page 6 of 8

7 Ranges issued must not be reused, but must be replaced when exhausted. Royal Mail will provide new number ranges when required, and additional sample labels will need to be validated before each new number range is issued. For this reason, new ranges should be requested well in advance of previous ranges becoming exhausted. 3.4 Barcode Standards Royal Mail tracking label barcodes are produced using the Code128 encoding standard with subsets B & C as per the following example. Most Code128 printers and fonts will meet this standard automatically. FF GB Start Character FF Change Character Subset Coded To subset B in B C Change Character Numerics To subset coded in C B 5 GB 128 Check Stop Character Royal Mail Origin text Code 128 Coded in B. numeric check coded in modulus 103 digit coded in B B check digit. The following dimensions apply Item Barcode module widths must be greater than 0.30mm but less than 0.38mm. The minimum barcode size is 38mm wide by 16mm high. Each barcode also requires a 6mm quiet (blank) zone before and after, and a 2mm quiet zone above and below. It is imperative that barcodes are printed to a high quality, both for readability by RM scanning equipment, and for resistance to damage during the life of the item. Royal Mail imposes rigid standards on barcodes created by customers own systems, and a detailed technical specification of requirements is available on request. The main technical quality standard required is measured with a Symbol Laserchecker II scanner and should record a minimum 75% STI. This level has been recommended as an industry standard by Symbol Technologies Ltd, and is the standard met by all existing suppliers of product labels to the Royal Mail. The use of thermal printers, or of high definition laser printing (e.g. 400dpi or greater), should produce the necessary quality, if equipment is properly maintained and kept clean. Further advice is available from Royal Mail Customer Solutions Team via your account handler. 3.5 Modulus 11 Check Digit Algorithm The tracking number check digit is included to assist possible manual keying. It should not be confused with the modulus 103 check character which is a mandatory element of code 128 barcodes, albeit not printed as human-readable. The barcode creation software normally calculates this modulus 103 check digit automatically. Some printers will also construct the barcode, with this check character. The algorithm used for the tracking number check digit is a modulus 11 sum of products algorithm, with weightings Page 7 of 8

8 Each digit is multiplied by its related weighting, and the 8 results added together. This total is then divided by 11 and the remainder recorded. The check digit is the result of subtracting this remainder from 11. If the remainder is 0 or 1, then the result from the subtraction will be 11 or 10. As there is only room for a single digit, these cannot be used. In these cases, a check digit of 11 will be substituted with a 5, and a check digit of 10 will be substituted with a 0. The check digit algorithm will always be performed against all 8 digits in the tracking number. The prefix and suffix elements are not include in the calculation. EXAMPLE LE: Original Item Identifier: FF *GB (* is the check digit) Original Digit: Weight: Result: Total: 193 Take the modulus 11 of this: (i.e. find the maximum multiple of 11 that will divide into 193 thus calculating the remainder) (17 11) = = result of 6 The check digit is 11 minus the result: 11-6 = 5 Giving the result of FF GB Page 8 of 8

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