TEKLYNX Published in Laboratory Equipment

12 February 2015

TEKLYNX has been published in Laboratory Equipment!

Laboratory Equipment has published TEKLYNX, highlighting an article written by Nick Recht, TEKLYNX Enterprise Product Manager. The article explained how an integrated barcode labeling solution that can pull data from an entire company database can help increase productivity, efficiency and revenue.The feature reads:

Total System Integration Key to Business Efficiency
An integrated barcode labeling solution that can pull data from an entire company database can help increase productivity, efficiency and revenue. 

Businesses large and small take steps every day to improve their core processes through integration. By definition, integration is the interconnection of disparate software applications, such as barcode labeling software, to enhance overall functionality and improve results. The resulting solution shares a common database and user interface, allowing complete access to data across an organization. 

Typically, companies dedicate significant resources to selecting and implementing software applications to support supply chain and/or warehouse management, purchasing, inventory tracking, human resources, financial data and customer relationship management through a unified Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Integration can include solutions like Oracle, SAP, Infor, JD Edwards and Epicor, along with basic database tools like Microsoft Access.

But what about critical secondary processes, like barcode labeling? Often overlooked, this essential part of production can offer significant improvements to overall business results. Complete system integration is particularly beneficial to the barcode labeling process because the data that is typically included on a label comes from various areas of the business. Barcode label designs can include external data from client systems, or pull in data from hardware, such as scales. Companies with fully integrated enterprise-wide systems are able to capitalize on the return on investment (ROI) of their overarching solutions and gain efficiency in production and other key workflows.

Imagine this: an integrated enterprise barcode labeling solution that is tied to a company’s core business system. All relevant data for a label is pulled from the database with minimal manual entry—simply scanning a barcode on a work order or entering a PO number can trigger label printing. A simple user interface makes it easier for workers to print the finished label, with no risk of unauthorized changes to the design or erroneous printer selection. The number of label templates to manage is greatly reduced, as unique information is pulled in from the database to populate defined fields rather than manually setting up each design for a client or shipment.

This scenario is a reality for many organizations that have transformed their business processes through total system integration. By integrating their barcode label design and printing solutions with other key business systems, companies have seen significant results:

• For a major food manufacturer, manual data entry took up to one minute per job. After integration, label creation time was reduced to mere seconds.

• A high-volume global manufacturer of building materials and composites experienced a 75 percent reduction in label template development time and labor costs after implementing an SAP-integrated labeling solution that leveraged fewer templates.

• One of North America’s largest independent manufacturers of plastic tubing completely eliminated manual labeling processes and saw a 50 percent reduction in labeling errors and associated customer returns, which significantly improved revenue.

Benefits of integration

Consider the impact a fully integrated barcode labeling solution could have on business operations, productivity and revenue. Here are the top four benefits a fully integrated labeling solution offers across an organization:

1. Simplified user experience and maintenance: A centralized barcode labeling solution helps simplify associated processes for various users within the organization. When a business system is configured to pull variable data into a single label template, it simplifies the management of label files for administrators by reducing the number of files that are stored in the system. Accuracy of label data is also improved, as the information is pulled directly from other business systems rather than manually entered by a user.

Integrated business systems reduce the number of databases that must be supported and maintained by an IT department, and a single system of record creates clear analytics to drive workflow improvements. Centralized file creation, logging and storage make it easy to track versions and approvals in the event of an audit. By building processes around an integrated business system, duplicate sets of data in multiple databases are reduced. 

2. Improved ROI on existing infrastructure: Most businesses have likely invested a significant amount of money into the implementation of an ERP or other overarching system. 

Building a barcode labeling solution into existing infrastructure allows users to leverage historical data to create a broad picture of operations. In a fully integrated system, information sharing is seamless for disparate teams and daily usage can be simplified through unified workflows and single sign-on technology.

3. Increased efficiency and accuracy through automation: Consider the number of resources across teams that are involved in barcode label design and printing, the number of workstations and applications that are used to generate accurate labels and the amount of wasted label stock and returns that are generated when user error is introduced into the process.

For example, print jobs can be automatically triggered through system activity like entering an order or initiating a production run. Automation completely eliminates the risk of data entry errors, a user choosing the wrong label file or printing to the wrong printer.

4. Reduced cost: Many companies need an end-to-end barcode labeling solution, based on issues that arise from:

o Manual approval processes for label template design, resulting in production delays

o Many disparate local installs of designers and print engines, requiring significant IT attention and investment

o Manual, error-prone print processes that result in costly returns and wasted stock

Barcode labeling solutions help lower costs and administrative overhead by eliminating the need for individual workstation installations and the maintenance that comes along with them. Investigate solutions that leverage web-based access to a centralized print interface to take advantage of these benefits. 

When reviewing potential barcode labeling software vendors, look for a solution provider that can address all of these issues with a single, configurable out-of-the-box product.

For more basic integration, the barcode labeling software itself can include straightforward wizards that allow users to link systems and pull various files into label designs. For many businesses, this level of integration provides a solid starting point and allows users to experience the benefits of an integrated solution without excessive time or expense.

Additionally, it is best to seek an enterprise solution from a company that designs barcode labeling software for specific industries. For example, solutions designed for the life science industry should be able to help companies achieve compliance with federal requirements for electronic signatures and tracking. Compliance with 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11 should be seamlessly integrated into the entire regulated enterprise, and be highly configurable.

Ready to integrate?

An integrated barcode labeling solution could be the key to unlocking additional results from labeling processes and workflows. It can lay the groundwork for greater strategic improvements that support lean manufacturing initiatives and other key organizational goals. A company that has been functioning with a standalone labeling solution can still integrate its labeling processes into its overarching business systems and begin business transformation through total system integration. Follow due diligence to choose the right software partner.

A software company with extensive experience working with different business systems, varied workflows and diverse internal processes will be able to help companies get an integrated solution up and running quickly to drive immediate return on investment. Often, software vendors have an extended network of value-added resellers and technology partners who assist with the implementation process and provide ongoing support. Take advantage of these valuable resources that can help find the right combination of software and hardware and determine the best way to make all disparate systems fit together.

Read Total System Integration Key to Business Efficiency here: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/articles/2015/02/total-system-integration-key-business-efficiency

Also featured on Lofton Label's blog: http://www.loftonlabel.com/news-events/blog/301-barcode-labeling-total-system-integration-is-key-to-business-efficiency