As Product Manager at TEKLYNX, one of my favorite parts of my job is talking with our customers. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and hearing about their challenges and successes helps me ensure that we are developing barcode label software products that meet their needs.
A common labeling challenge I’ve been hearing recently is the need to move toward a paperless label approval process. Instead of printing out sample labels, physically delivering them to each person in the approval process, and returning to the label design software to implement changes, companies are looking to digitally transform this process and make label approval paperless. This change has been a long time coming, with “green” initiatives reducing the amount of printed paper. And the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic have forced many workers to accomplish their jobs remotely, intensifying the need to implement a paperless label approval process.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the hidden risks of a physical label approval process, learn about the benefits of a paperless label approval process, and talk about steps you can take to eliminate paper from your labeling process.
The Risks of a Physical Label Approval Process
If your company is using a physical label approval process, some of these risks might sound familiar:
Permanent records of physical labels are difficult to store, if they’re stored at all. Storage rooms and filing cabinets are on their way out as manufacturers seek to maximize productivity within their physical facilities. Storing paper labels wastes valuable space that could be allocated to revenue-generating activities. Some companies are not even keeping records of the label approval process, which can lead to inconsistencies in label templates over time.
Unless kept under lock and key, paper labels are not secure. There is no control over who sees or requests edits to the label.
Printing and transporting physical labels wastes tons of time. Whether you’re walking across a small office or a huge warehouse, you can’t walk faster than an email. Not to mention all the people who stop you to “quickly” help them with a “small” issue. The time spent on a physical label approval process can easily balloon into a serious time-suck.
Paper labels are easy to lose or forget about. Paper labels can too easily go missing or get buried under stacks of other paperwork. Days later, you realize you never got the approval you were waiting for!
Once the paper labels have made it through their approval process, someone still has to go back into the label design software to make the changes. If the changes are significant, the label approval process has to start from the top once again.
A physical label approval process opens your company up to the risk of inaccurate labels, which are a leading cause of product recalls. Looking for a more secure and efficient process? Go paperless.
The Benefits of a Paperless Label Approval Process
A paperless label approval process not only reduces the risks mentioned above, it also saves time and resources, leading to more efficient operations.
Clear out that label storage room – records of the approval process are on file forever, and they don’t take up any space! The paperless label approval process is tracked and recorded in the system. If a labeling error is discovered, you have the records available at your fingertips to trace the error to its source and ensure it isn’t repeated.
Only specified users can access the secure paperless label approval process. When setting up your process, you’ll define the approval steps the label file must pass through. This includes defining specific users, their permissions levels, and whether passwords are required. User management can be directly integrated with Windows Active Directory, making setup easy.
A paperless label approval process is both digital and automatic, saving time. Requests for approval are sent instantly via email. And forget about downloading attachments – label files are stored in a central repository where the approver can access, approve, deny, and add comments. All this can be done without leaving their desk!
Feedback on the label can be instantly received and implemented by the label designer. Instead of waiting hours or days to move physical labels through a facility, the entire label approval process can be done quickly when made paperless.
Everything regarding label approvals is in one place – which is digital and paperless. No more typing in what someone else wrote down or deciphering handwriting. When all comments are sent and received digitally, it’s easier for the label designer to implement the required changes.
Implementing a paperless label approval process saves time and improves efficiency, while adding security to your labeling environment.
Steps to Implementing a Paperless Label Approval Process
Moving from a physical label approval process to a paperless one doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Take it one step at a time:
Determine who needs to approve labels. This could be one person, or it could be representatives from multiple departments. Determine whether the process is different for a completely new label versus an existing label that’s been updated.
Define the order of approval steps. Depending on your requirements, the order of approvals could be very important. Does the product team need to verify the data before marketing approves the fonts and logos? Should quality control be the final step after other departments? Ask yourself these questions and any others that apply to your company.
Give authorized users the appropriate access. Set permissions and password requirements within the user management module of your labeling software. Design permissions should be assigned to as few users as possible to avoid unintended edits to label templates.
Avoid the pitfall of emailing label files back and forth. Implement paperless label approval software that’s built to centralize label storage and manage the approval process.
Paperless Label Approval Software: LABEL ARCHIVE
Going paperless is easy with label approval software like LABEL ARCHIVE. LABEL ARCHIVE offers:
Secure user management integrated with Windows Active Directory
Automated paperless label approval workflows
Centralized label storage for your label files
Permanent records of all label changes and approvals for maximum traceability
Companies that use LABEL ARCHIVE have reaped the rewards of a paperless label approval process. Take MicroVention, for example. As a medical device company, label approval was critical to maintaining accuracy and preventing product recalls. With a small label design team that serves facilities around the world, a paperless label approval process enables MicroVention to get products to market quickly while reducing the risk of labeling errors.
Want to learn more about going paperless? Request a live demonstration of LABEL ARCHIVE.
Travis Wayne is the Product Manager at TEKLYNX. Travis applies his 20+ years of IT and health sciences experience to empower businesses to streamline operations and barcode better by applying software and technology. He works to continually improve TEKLYNX' strategic planning, product and project management principles, and cross-functional communications. When not working, he enjoys many outdoor activities with his wife and two children.
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