Labeling plays a critical role in every company’s supply chain and is part of today’s digital transformation. As business environments become more global and complex, companies need to look at labeling differently to keep pace with evolving technologies and to meet the demands of new multi-faceted, dynamic supply chains. Enterprise labeling plays an important role in the digital transformation by creating new efficiencies both throughout the enterprise and within global supply chains by empowering companies to deal with the nuances of today’s complex labeling requirements and regulations.
Labels convey more and more critical information, such as product details, customer information, regulatory and safety information. As the number and variance of products proliferates, companies face difficulty staying competitive while still using legacy, homegrown, or disparate labeling solutions. An enterprise labeling approach can scale, flexibly adapt, and respond quickly to demands from customers and regulators to address the increasing complexity in labeling.
Image courtesy: Loftware
Complying with evolving regulations
Evolving standards and regulatory requirements pose many complex challenges for today’s business. Labeling regulations are an increasing concern across a broad set of industries including electronics, medical devices, and many others. These requirements, which have costly consequences for noncompliance, compel companies to be precise about labeling information displayed and languages used.
Labels must reflect how products are distributed through increasingly complex supply chains around the globe. The location where a product is made and where a product is shipped further complicates labeling and determines how compliance must be achieved as each country or
region has specific versions of regulatory requirements. For example, health and safety information must be in the language of the country where a product is made and in the language of where it is shipped. Also, depending on the product, there may be requirements for a compliance logo or colored pictograms. Companies risk hefty fines, disrupting business, and may even be kept from entering new markets if they don’t comply.
Enterprise labelingallows companies to design labels that leverage business rules and dynamic labeling to support variations in formats, barcodes, logos, languages, and content quickly and easily. It can integrate to sources of regulatory data to make sure the needs of each customer is being met throughout each part of a company’s supply chain. This type of centralized label management ensures labeling consistency and that your company is adhering to regulatory guidelines throughout your company’s global supply chain.
Managing complex customer requirements
Customer requirements are also evolving rapidly as the pace of business accelerates. Labeling needs to support countless variations to manage mass label changes easily, while including more and more information on those labels. And, customers want these complex requirements met faster than before.
An enterprise labelingapproach means automating the labeling process and using business logic to deal with extensive label variations. With this strategy, business users can leverage the labeling solution to address any necessary changes without having to involve IT. Business leaders can deal directly with the customer to meet customer specific requirements in a timely and less intensive way, using fewer technical resources. They can dynamically manage regional, language and any customer specific requirements. Changes and updates can be made in hours rather than months so that deadlines can be met.
Image courtesy: Loftware
Centralization is really important in maximizing the value of this type of data- driven labeling. By centralizing labeling, labeling teams use a common set of label formats across an organization, configured to be dynamically driven by label content and data. This approach drastically reduces the number of label templates, while still accounting for region, language, product, and brand information, etc. – enabling companies to move from hard coding labels to a more flexible paradigm that enables the source data to drive what’s on the label.
Scale labeling to meet business growth
As global companies continue to expand their presence internationally, they must consider how to efficiently deploy and maintain labeling solutions, so they can scale seamlessly. This is essential to handle the rigors of global infrastructures, allowing users to manage outages and connectivity issues, while maintaining continuous operations using high availability, failover, and disaster recovery capabilities.
As companies grow, they frequently inherit labeling software that is unique to a particular location. These packaged or homegrown applications are often siloed from each other and a central headquarters, making managing labeling on a global basis difficult if not impossible. Since these different labeling solutions do not have access to centralized content, standards or data, the result is a lack of uniformity across the organization. Unfortunately, these systems cannot address complex labeling demands and are time intensive to maintain. Although these systems might meet requirements at the local level, managing labeling across a global supply chain becomes very difficult for a company that wants to have centralized control and labeling consistency.
When a business grows, enterprise labeling can scale with it. By standardizing and centralizing labeling, you can add locations, increase print volume, distribute new products more effectively, and comply with new regulations quickly. Enterprise labeling offers labeling consistency, enhances brand integrity, reduces costs and offers a single scalable solution that facilitates expansion to new global locations.
Optimize label design & approval process
As businesses continue to scale, new facilities, increased numbers of products, added partners and suppliers all result in an increasing number of business users needing access to labeling. And, as more users become involved, the risks of errors and the importance of accuracy reaches new heights. This makes it especially important to have visibility and control for managing labels.
Enterprise labeling enables professionals to extend secure access to anyone in an organization or in the supply chain that needs to take part in the labeling process and business users can make changes themselves, without relying on complex information technology (IT) processes and staff. Label design is best done by the business users who understand the customer and regulatory requirements, without complex review processes and costly IT resources involved.
With enterprise labelingyou also can realize significant benefits by using automated workflows to manage reviews and approvals, monitor updates, and control label changes. Siloed, manual processes introduce additional cycle times and add risk to the processes of reviewing and approving labels and content. Implementing a configurable workflow framework allows you to reduce cycle times on labels from months and weeks to days. This significantly reduces costs and increases agility when introducing new products or making major changes to labels.