With the integration of labeling with mission-critical business processes, the performance and high availability of a labeling solution becomes increasingly important. Labeling must be optimized for high output performance and highly available 24x7, 365 days a year.
Who can forget the tragedy of the earthquakes, massive tsunami, and related nuclear power plant disaster that struck the northeastern coast of Japan in 2011? The value of the loss of lives, homes, and entire communities was immeasurable and can never be replaced. In the early days of the disaster, even routine communication to the Tohoku area was impossible. Six of Sony's manufacturing plants were shut down. Honda, Toyota, Apple, Canon, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sapporo, Nikon, and Nissan all experienced plant closures or long shipping delays due to the earthquakes. In financial terms, the damage was estimated to total more than a staggering $300 billion.
An aerial view of damage to Sukuiso, Japan, taken one week after the earthquake and tsunami devestated the area in March, 2011. Photo courtesy: Dylan McCord. U.S. Navy
It is clear that natural and man-made disasters–whether a storm, a flood, a fire, or geopolitical unrest–can wreak havoc with a company's supply chain and have significant financial consequences. Companies with worldwide operations that include manufacturing and distribution facilities across the globe must ensure continuous flow of goods to customers without interruption. However, when it comes to business continuity, companies most often think about manufacturing and shipping but frequently overlook an essential element—labeling. Even when issues with production and distribution are addressed, if products cannot be labeled during a crisis, continuity is still broken.
Providing a clear standard for labeling allows businesses to maintain consistency and to provide another level of scalability and reliability to support a global network of printers. The focus, even when deploying solutions in a distributed fashion, is to continue to maintain the ability to leverage common data sources, components and configurations across sites. This is essential to handle the rigors of global infrastructures, allowing users to manage outages and connectivity issues, while providing high availability, failover and disaster recovery capabilities. The advent of modern, multi-tier architectures and browser-based labeling solutions offers even more flexibility to enable centralized and decentralized deployment options.
Enterprise-wide labeling provides a structured path to production with a way to test out scenarios for outlier events and challenges even before they happen. Large companies with global supply chains want to know that a labeling solution includes a variety of risk management options and best practices, and Enterprise Labeling Solutions provide this peace of mind for manufacturers and their customers. No one wants disaster to strike, but if and when it does, making sure products can be labeled accurately and reach their intended destination in the most efficient and timely way is a critical part of a manufacturer's mission.
Greg Graham, manufacturing industry specialist (Southern Region), Loftware, and Justin Ward, manufacturing industry specialist (Northern Region), Loftware, were additional authors on this blog.