Through 2023, we expect our manufacturing customers to be focused on responding to continued supply chain disruption by embracing automation technologies to speed up labeling processes, reduce errors, and improve workflow efficiencies. Additionally, we anticipate seeing them use mergers, acquisitions, and labor issues as an opportunity to reevaluate labeling processes and modernize labeling software.
This blog will go through how labeling trends in 2023 will help turn the biggest manufacturing and supply chain challenges into opportunities, so you can barcode better.
Disruptions to the supply chain are here to stay in 2023. Manufacturing companies are looking to implement approaches to increase supply chain visibility and traceability, automation, and quality control to save resources and more easily adapt to supply chain disruptions.
Create a unified supplier network with browser-based label printing: Companies create simple, streamlined printing interfaces via a web browser that are secured with a username and password. Each supplier can only access the approved labels assigned to them. With a unified supplier labeling system, companies experience much lower risk for labeling errors from their suppliers and benefit from maximum traceability with the ability to report on all past label changes and print jobs.
Working directly with suppliers creates a more connected supply chain and diversifying those suppliers is another way manufacturers are negating supply chain or inventory issues. With a unified supplier network, adding new suppliers is quick and doesn’t put the burden on your IT team or create bottlenecks due to disparate label management systems across each supplier.
Implement automatic label approval: Configure automatic workflows to streamline label template design and approval process. With label security and traceability software, you can create and enforce an electronic label approval process from design, to approval, to print. Only approved labels enter production, ensuring only labels with accurate information can be printed to streamline operations and reduce reprints or labeling-related recalls.
With supply chain disruptions expected to continue into 2023 and beyond, the key here is to stay adaptable, open to new approaches, and committed to continuous improvement.
As the manufacturing industry continues to recover from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been an increase in industry consolidation, which has resulted in newly formed companies carrying a considerable amount of technical debt and disparate systems. This is leading manufacturers to modernize and consolidate systems, shift away from heavy customization, and transition to the cloud.
Modernize and consolidate labeling systems: Instead of managing a variety of labeling software brands or versions, upgrade your labeling environment, so every workstation is leveraging the same product and latest version available to support easily merging systems in the future. If a merged or acquired company has different labeling software in place or label data saved between disparate systems, work to consolidate those systems to streamline labeling processes and minimize confusion or errors.
Shift away from heavy customization: Move toward simplicity to avoid unnecessary complexity and constraints that make it difficult to integrate systems. When ERP system label printing integration is deep, upgrading your ERP or barcode label printing system can mean days or weeks of development time (and money) to ensure the existing system continues to work well with the upgraded system. Our ERP labeling integration solution relies on light integration. When it’s time to upgrade, if an ERP system can continue to generate a flat file, your integrated barcode label printing software from TEKLYNX will continue to work seamlessly without development work. Thanks to this simple integration method, TEKLYNX software can easily integrate with virtually any ERP system, including SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, and many more.
Transition to the cloud: Leverage cloud storage applications such as Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive to give users the ability to save label files in a central location and print from anywhere. You can also use Excel Online or Google Sheets to print cloud data on your labels through database connections or use OData connections to access data from a cloud-enabled ERP or WMS. With cloud-enabled label printing, anyone who is given secure access can easily log in, scan or key in data, and print labels at any location. All cloud options increase agility and scalability.
The key to responding to industry consolidation in labeling is to plan carefully to ensure the combined organization can meet its labeling needs effectively.
TEKLYNX consulting services can advise you on how to merge two labeling environments. We also understand budget and infrastructure constraints and provide subscription licensing and cloud-enabled solutions to help lower upfront costs and IT overhead while maximizing return on investment (ROI) for our customers.
Labor shortages have taken a serious toll on the manufacturing industry. The Washington Post reported manufacturers are seeing an almost 60% increase in resignations compared to before the pandemic. To combat this, manufacturing companies are turning to technology and training to overcome labor shortages and meet the demand for faster turnaround times, while maintaining high quality and productivity. This can involve seeking out new tools and technologies that can help streamline data capture and labeling processes or training your labeling team.
Use RFID: With this year’s mandate launched by Walmart for their suppliers to have RFID labeled products, and others following suit, we expect to see more infrastructure around RFID label software and technologies and further advancements in this form of product tracking and data capture. Many TEKLYNX technology partners are advancing their scanners and printers for RFID enablement and promoting them at price points that help make the business case for quicker adoption. The benefits, standards, data collection, and speed that RFID brings into the supply chain will prove to be significant.
Automate label printing: Automated label printing is a critical necessity for creating efficiencies and reducing manual work that has proven ROI. The introduction of more automated labeling processes is helping companies save money, reduce overhead, and increase sustainability. Instead of relying on your employees to manually find, update, and print labels, let a label print automation solution do the work in the background. Label print automation software watches for updates, parses data from the business system, and initiates the label print job without any manual interaction or risk of human error.
Train and update labeling guidelines: Investing in training and development for existing labeling team members can increase their productivity and efficiency, allowing them to handle more work. It’s also important to review and update labeling guidelines to ensure labeling is carried out consistently and accurately across the organization. TEKLYNX hosts monthly product training webinars, plus custom training and consulting services to leverage our decades of experience and achieve your labeling goals.
In general, the key to responding to labor shortages is to be proactive and creative in finding solutions that help your organization continue to meet its labeling needs. But if you’re currently facing labor shortages, here are seven surefire ways to make labeling less manual and maximize your staff's time:
Read our 7 Ways to Make Labeling Less Manual When You’re Understaffed blog post to learn more about implementing each strategy.
It’s helpful to build strong partnerships and collaborations with technology providers to access their expertise, resources, and perspectives to help you overcome challenges and seize new opportunities. If you have plans to improve your labeling environment and are looking for some advice on where to start or how to make your labeling better, get in touch with TEKLYNX.
Doug Niemeyer is the President & General Manager at TEKLYNX Americas. He leverages his 25+ years of sales & marketing experience in technology and leadership to help grow the business. His passion for leadership, insatiable curiosity, and competitive spirit help to drive success, encourage progress and development while ensuring teams hold positive customer experiences in the highest regard, all with the purpose of helping companies barcode better. When he is not working you can find him in a gym, on a field or golf course playing or coaching.
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