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Labeling is a critical method of communication for any company with physical operations. If labels are wrong, it impacts so many other areas of the business: inventory, sales, customer relationships, quality assurance, regulatory compliance, and more. The biggest contributor to labeling errors is a disjointed labeling process made up of many different software solutions cobbled together.
A label management system is an all-encompassing system that standardizes and centralizes the labeling process. With a successful label management system, labeling errors can be prevented, keeping your business efficient and productive.
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Before we get into the 7 key components, let’s talk about why a label management system is so beneficial to businesses.
A label management system increases efficiency. Without an integrated system in place, getting the right label on the right product can take many manual steps in various systems. This takes time, causes frustration, and increases the risk for mistakes. With a streamlined labeling system in place, the entire labeling process, from design to print, happens seamlessly. Human interaction is minimized, saving your staff’s time for other value-added activities.
A label management system reduces errors. If your disjointed labeling process requires manual data entry, the risk of labeling errors is high. No matter how careful your staff is, mistakes happen. Labeling mistakes can result in huge fines and even product recalls. With a fully integrated labeling system, your label printing software pulls data directly from your business system, eliminating the need for manual data entry and minimizing the risk for errors.
A label management system makes IT maintenance easy. With a disjointed labeling environment, your IT department has to manage countless installations of various software solutions on individual workstations. This takes a lot of valuable time and effort. A centralized label management system allows IT to manage all label software installations from the central IT office.
There are so many more benefits to implementing a label management system. Check out our customer case studies for real user stories.
Before we jump into the software components of a label management system, we have to talk about the people who work with them. At TEKLYNX, we believe software systems should always be implemented with people in mind. Who is typically involved in label management? Here are the roles we most often see:
These are the core roles we usually see involved in a labeling project, but your labeling team might have even more members involved. Defining these stakeholders early on will ensure your label management system meets the needs of the entire organization.
Next, review the entire labeling process. Start by investigating the current steps, from label request to printed label. Document which people, systems, and data are involved and how steps in the process are triggered. Keep in mind that different departments and business units may be following different processes.
Once you have a bird’s eye view of the current labeling process, you can begin to craft your company’s ideal labeling process. In some cases, you might identify ways to fix your current process. In other cases, you might find it better to start from scratch. Here are some questions to consider:
An ideal label printing process has an enforced set of steps, minimizes manual intervention, and maximizes the use of existing business data.
Need a hand documenting your current labeling process and identifying areas for improvement? TEKLYNX offers consulting services to share our experience with you.
Everything starts with designing a label template. When considering your label design application, you should think about both features and licensing.
Make sure the basics are covered: adding text, barcodes, and images to the label. Check that your required barcode types are supported, and that the software supports color printing if you need color on your labels.
Most companies require intermediate features such as database connections, formulas, and a GS1 barcode wizard. A great label design application will offer these in the base package.
Identify the advanced features your company requires.
PortWatch, GridField, and Tagged Text Management are some of the many advanced features of CODESOFT Enterprise label design software, which is part of the TEKLYNX label management system offering.
Make sure you understand how your label design software is licensed. Some software is licensed per workstation, or computer where the software is installed. Some software is licensed per device, or printer where the software sends label print jobs. Make sure you choose the option that is most cost-effective for your company.
It’s critical to be sure you understand how support and maintenance works with your label design software license. At TEKLYNX, our subscription licensing includes technical support, version upgrades, and training webinars at no additional cost. Our perpetual licensing can be purchased with a Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA) that provides similar benefits. Find out which option is best for your company and be sure to budget for license and maintenance renewals.
Once a label is designed, it’s important to have a formal label approval process before the label can be printed. At the core of label approval is user management.
User management means applying specific permissions to different employees based on their role. For example:
Employees must log into the label approval and management system with a secure password. Ideally, the label management system will leverage the existing single sign-on or Windows Active Directory accounts your company already uses.
LABEL ARCHIVE label security and traceability software from TEKLYNX offers user management, label approval workflows, and an organized central repository for your label files.
Label printing is the moment of truth: getting data on product packaging! At TEKLYNX, we’ve seen hundreds of ways companies initiate print jobs. Here, we’ll talk about some useful label printing tools that meet common requirements.
To effectively manage all the software components of a label management system, you need a centralized administration panel. The administrator needs to manage settings, user permissions, and licensing while keeping a bird’s eye view of activity.
TEKLYNX CENTRAL label management system from TEKLYNX includes a powerful central administration panel. From one central IT office, you can control all software licensing across your organization. Not only do you have granular control of settings, but the system automatically tracks changes to settings over time. You’ll never have to wonder, “When did we change that?” again!
TEKLYNX CENTRAL puts powerful reporting tools in your hands. At a glance, you can see the most active print users, busiest printers, and most labeled products.
So far, we’ve talked about the people, process, and software in a label management system. But no label is printed without a printer or scanned without a scanner! Compatibility and integration between your software and hardware must not be overlooked!
First and foremost, maintain the PCs used to run your label management system. It’s best practice to replace old hardware on a consistent schedule to avoid hardware failure. Planning an operating system upgrade? Make sure your labeling software is compatible and upgrade it too!
Printer compatibility with your label management system is of utmost importance. Make sure your label design software includes native printer drivers that allow the software to speak to the label printer in its own language. TEKLYNX works directly with label printer manufacturers to develop and test our own native printer drivers for over 3,000 printer models so our customers can achieve WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) printing!
As you reduce manual interaction in your label printing process, you may also want to reduce physical manual steps such as applying labels to packaging. Print and apply machines simultaneously print a label and adhere it to the packaging.
Make sure your scanners are compatible with the barcodes you’re printing, and vice versa. If you’re using scanners as a data input tool via PortWatch, simply connect the scanner to the workstation. The scanner will input the content of the barcode it scans – just like a keyboard, but much faster and without typos!
Choose a label management software partner who works with a variety of industry leaders in labeling hardware.
TEKLYNX and our partners offer solutions for a complete label management system that fits your company’s unique needs. We’ve implemented thousands of systems and we have years of experience to guide your implementation. Check out our label management case studies.
TEKLYNX CENTRAL is our all-in-one label management solution that meets all your software needs. Label design, label approval and management, label print automation, and centralized management are all included in the TEKLYNX CENTRAL package. Our expert implementation team will tailor your installation to your exact needs.
Get in touch with the TEKLYNX team to find out more.
Casey Sciano is an Enterprise Executive at TEKLYNX. He uses his 15+ years of sales and technical experience and knowledge of the AIDC space to support enterprise label management clients. Casey strives to help clients "see the forest through the trees" by utilizing sound business strategies and sales techniques that impact the way they do business. When not working, he loves spending time with his dog Josie and cheering on the Brewers, Bucks, and Packers.
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