Digitalization, the Industrial Internet and label management

Ken Moir Industry news Leave a Comment

The Industrial Internet is a term coined by GE in late 2012. Essentially the Industrial Internet, or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as it is also known, brings together machines, advanced analytics and people at work to improve levels of efficiency, productivity and performance.

What this means to product supply infrastructure is digital transformation or digitalization— moving away from legacy systems and manual processes to digital platforms which help businesses improve efficiencies, optimize processes and meet the ever-expanding array of industry requirements and regulations. The logistics industry has been slower to adopt digital technology when compared to some, but the technology cannot be ignored — especially when many linked industries such as retail are much further along the adoption curve — their supply and delivery chain needs to keep pace.

One area of digitalization which can transform the production and supply chain is digitalizing the labeling process. Once all the information and processes needed to produce and maintain labels goes digital, companies can deliver products to market faster, with fewer resources and less errors, and while managing all of this in real-time.

Key drivers to adopting a digitalized labeling solution

Accordingto research, 62% of decision makers involved in the evaluation and purchase of modern label management systems need to print labels across multiple locations, and often in multiple markets where there are different compliance issues. Many of these businesses also use a wide variety of printers with different set-ups. While almost one-third of the companies surveyed still rely on a paper-based labeling process, of those that had moved to full digitalization, their label tracking and monitoring capabilities had improved, with cost savings and reduced labeling errors following suit.

Take Krka as an example. One of the top generic pharmaceutical companies in Europe, the company produces and sells prescription pharmaceuticals, non-prescription products and animal health products. It was in the process of building a new state-of-the-art production facility but knew that its existing labeling processes would not support future growth. It had four main goals when considering which label management system to implement.

  1. To establish a digital labeling process which would improve quality assurance while reducing manual operations.
  2. To consolidate their labeling process and systems.
  3. To integrate labeling with their master data management system.
  4. To reduce the number of label templates to a more manageable number and to use a single centralized platform for label design, change control, printing, integration and management.

While the pharmaceutical industry may have more complex regulatory compliance requirements than other industries, businesses are still required to conform to certain quality standards across all industries whether they are manufacturers, logistics providers or both.  These goals can be applied to any business who wants to take advantage of the IIoT in order to streamline operations, improve efficiencies and benefit from cost savings.

Key benefits for Krka from a digitalized labeling solution

Krka adopted a label management system from NiceLabel and quickly made a significant improvement in the quality and management of their labeling, as well as improved customer responsiveness and significant cost savings. Krka has been able to record many benefits which are also applicable to many other logistics and supply chain businesses, including:  

  • Streamlined compliance
    The digital label management system that replaced the paper-based compliance system is saving Krka countless man-hours, which translates into a significant cost reduction.

  • Label Consistency and customer responsiveness:
    The consolidation of label systems and processes has resulted in better customer response times and eliminated label inconsistencies. Regardless of the system being used, or the location, the right label template is printed, and the output is consistent across all systems.

  • Label template consolidation:
    The ability to search the label management system and compare the differences between similar templates has helped Krka eliminate duplicate labels and also reduce the number of label templates that they need to maintain.

  • Business ownership and governance for label content and layouts:
    Business users at Krka can now design and manage labels without the help of IT. This dramatically improves cycle times and reduces the overall time spent on label design.

  • Label system consolidation and scalability:
    All systems are now integrated on the same centralized platform. This means less technical support costs, consistency and dramatically simplified change management.

Digitalizing your labeling paves the way for process improvements

There are many hidden costs of legacy labeling processes, including label change requests, manual quality assurance, product quarantine, reworking mislabeled products, product recalls, costs associated with interrupting operations to reprint labels, and unplanned downtime. When added up, these hidden costs can significantly impact the bottom line.

By taking advantage of a digital label management system, businesses can benefit in the same way as Krka, reducing the visible and hidden costs associated with their labeling while getting products to customers faster and with fewer errors.

Findout more about the streamlined compliance and label management that Krka experienced. Read  the case study.

Find out more about how your business can benefit from digitally transforming labeling. Visit our vision page.

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