Enterprise Labeling Speeds Time-to-Market

In 2015, improving time-to-market speed is essential, and the need for acceleration is only going to increase in the future. By looking carefully at how  labeling practices are handled, electronics manufacturers can capture a variety of benefits, to both organization and customer.

Robotics and a wide variety of advanced technologies for automation are disrupters that portend a sea change in the requirements for manufacturers to be capable of faster and faster response times. Therefore, a company's ability to rapidly manufacture and release existing, enhanced, or new products to a specific market has, and will continue to have, a dramatic impact on both the bottom line and corporate growth.

As part of this increased need for speed, the actions of developing, integrating, and managing the output of compliant labels for a manufacturer's products are a critical part of any product lifecycle. Labeling solutions need to be highly responsive in order to support the businesses requirements for label content and formatting, while supporting the volume and speed requirements for label printing now and for the future.

An Enterprise Labeling strategy gives manufacturers the ability to meet business requirements by streamlining label changes with advanced business logic. Business logic can dynamically change label formatting and content to support a myriad of different label combinations with a minimum number of label designs. It allows users to support a wide range of regional, language, customer and regulatory requirements, while enabling the automatic routing of print requests. So as labeling design changes are needed, they can be made by business users to respond to a wide range of standard and regulatory needs, to add new anti-counterfeiting features, to represent the most current brand and product identification, and to respond to customer requests. Any of these design changes, easily implemented, can result in much faster time to revenue.

The flexibility of Enterprise Labeling enables speed wherever labels are printed in the manufacturing supply chain.

Standardize labeling across the enterprise

As manufacturers continue to expand globally both organically and via acquisition, they inherit many different enterprise resource planning (ERP), manufacturing execution system (MES), and warehouse management system (WMS) applications that are responsible for triggering labeling.

The prevalence of home grown and custom labeling solutions, third-party labeling solutions, as well as a combination of these different solutions, that accumulate over time create a dilemma of major proportions. Manufacturers experience the best and the worst of all of those solutions combined, lacking a single consistent labeling approach that can be easily maintained and replicated. Just as companies choose to standardize ERP solutions for their global operations, manufac­turers need to understand that the same option is available for labeling.

In addition, manufacturers that deploy multiple solutions must deal with an increased maintenance level to accommodate all of the varying platforms. More IT resources become necessary, adding significant time and cost. Additionally, these manufacturers run the risk of not having the specific solution knowledge to react to critical business requirements. This limited flexibility means there is no single platform for growth, impacting a company's ability to scale.

If a business wants to represent itself with labeling consistency to its customers, standardizing labeling across the enter­prise is imperative. Essentially, standardization of labeling throughout the supply chain through an Enterprise Labeling Solution solves a multitude of problems at one time, preventing mislabeling, and relabeling, regardless of the number of locations. Rather than manage multiple different systems, standardization allows companies to streamline maintenance while supporting enterprise-wide labeling changes. In addition to reducing cost and simplifying maintenance, having a single, scalable solution facilitates expansion to new global locations.

Editor's Note:

Greg Graham, manufacturing industry specialist (Southern Region), Loftware, and Justin Ward, manufacturing industry specialist (Northern Region), Loftware, were additional authors on this blog.

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