Labeling Standards

In the early 1980s, the automotive industry lacked a single standard for bar codes. With more than 50 different symbologies and 20 different shipping label variations in use, each OEM often employed multiple symbologies within its own divisions and plants. Due to the lack of standardization, multiple readers and multiple bar codes were required for single parts, creating mass inefficiencies.

AIAG formed a bar coding project team to investigate the various symbologies and determine the industry’s new standard. In 1984, a single alphanumeric symbology (called Code 39) for the entire industry was established. AIAG also pioneered the concept of data identifiers, alphanumeric strings that indicate part number, purchase order number, quantity, etc. This concept was benchmarked by the aerospace and other industries, as well as the U.S. Department of Defense.

AIAG revolutionized the industry with its introduction of a single bar code symbology and the first bar code standard. AIAG’s bar coding standards have saved the industry millions of dollars in productivity, efficiency and accuracy.

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The B-10 describes the template for bar code labels on shipping containers - both unit loads and transport packages - to convey data between trading partners in the automotive industry. It outlines the requirements for design and for printing to ensure scannability of Code 39 bar code symbols and provide consistency of label formats. The physical parameters of the symbols and labels are provided and a bar code quality level is specified.


A global automotive industry standard, the B-16 describes the format for a common transport label design to facilitate the movement of goods & the exchange of data among all members of the supply chain. It will help define and implement a global transport label design for use across their supply chain through integrating such features as: the "License Plate" concept, code 128 linear bar codes, the 2D symbologies Data Matrix, QR Code and PDF417, as well apply the package and load Data Identifiers "IJ", "5J" and "6J".

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Describes the template for bar code labels on shipping containers - both unit loads and transport packages. Physical parameters of the symbols and labels are provided and a bar code quality level is specified.


Global automotive industry standard that describes the format for a common transport label design to facilitate the movement of goods and the exchange of data among all members of the supply chain.


Provides a practical guide to trading partner label quality assurance.

Application specification provides acceptable method for permanent cylinder identification applicable to both customer and supplier, including layout, data content and other label requirements.


Application standard defines specifications for printing and placing labels to automatically identify a freight carrier's trailer or van.


Summary of the Data Identifier evolution in the automotive industry.

Program Director: Mr. Lang Ware - AIAG - (248) 358-3570

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