Labeling is a key business process that is widely used internally and externally, across the organization. From streamlining logistics and distribution, to helping manage suppliers and production, labeling can be a challenging task. There are multiple issues to consider; the hardware involved, ability to design labels, maintaining accuracy of information, and making the correct labels available to the right departments. Accuracy, for example, is key for those organizations working in regulated environments such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals or food labeling. On the other hand, businesses with international offices and distribution centers may find it challenging to cost-effectively design and deploy correct labels indifferent languages for different regions.
Technology is increasingly being used to help overcome these challenges and make the labeling process more effective, despite the fact the industry has been largely static for the past few years. Technologies like cloud can have a dramatic impact on operations especially seeing as so many other critical business processes, like CRM, have already made the move. So if they can move to cloud, why can’t labeling? The answer is, it can.
Moving away from a legacy of complexity
As it stands, many organizations are stuck with legacy labeling processes that adds complexity to the design, printing and distribution of accurate labels. Typically, a business has multiple systems, across multiple departments that don’t necessarily work together. In addition, because labeling methods have historically been difficult to use, label design has largely fallen to the IT team. If something needs to be updated or changed, or a label designed from scratch, already over-stretched IT teams need to do it. The problem here is that it won’t be done quickly which can hinder the rest of the process. In one manufacturing company,for example, getting a label changed requires a minimum of eight weeks’ wait for the IT department to do it which they charge €3,000 per change request. This means important business opportunities may lost.
These disparate systems and hardware are costly to maintain and require specialist skills to operate.
Democratizing label management
In the era of the cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS), the labeling process is democratized.This means the designing element of the process is made easier and business users can do it, while the quality assurance process is made more efficient because typically these systems are intuitive and user-friendly, built using familiar interfaces.
This leads to one of the main benefits of moving labeling to the cloud. Adopting a SaaS approach means there is no additional specialized (and expensive) IT infrastructure needed and there is therefore no need to spend money maintaining it. As a result, businesses of all sizes — not just global enterprises — can afford label management systems and benefit from the productivity gains. In the past, it was larger organizations with the resources and in-house IT skills who could deploy such a system. But now there are far fewer barriers to entry for those smaller businesses who don’t have the IT skills and budgets needed for hardware, maintenance and management.
Better quality assurance, lower risk
The advantages of digitalizing the labeling process don’t stop at cost and ease of use. There are wider benefits, especially when it comes to the accuracy of labeling information. A digital approach to quality assurance of labeling effectively removes the human element from the process which also takes away risk and cost. It is also easier to secure the process and provides an added measure of traceability. Firstly, only people with the right access can amend data or change the label templates. Secondly, digitalizing the label management system provides users with an extensive audit trail, which details which changes have been made, who they were made by, when labels were printed and what was actually printed. This traceability is vital for meeting compliance requirements for regulated industries such as food & beverage, pharmaceuticals, etc.
Building on quality assurance, a cloud-based label management system enables businesses to centralize the label management processes and be able to store, change and approve all labels in a centralized location. This ensures that everyone is able to access the right, most up-to-date information wherever they may be located across the business or across the country. This also applies to global operations, making information available to suppliers, partners or affiliates, if needed.
It is indeed a new era for labeling. Digitalizing the process has widespread benefits for all organizations: agility, efficiency, speed, regardless of their size or the industry in which they operate. Cloud-based or SaaS systems ensure businesses can move easily and quickly away from legacy IT solutions that maybe more of a hindrance to the process than anything else. It also means that more people within a business can design and print labels, quickly and easily, and have access to the right versions and the most accurate data.
Find out how your business can benefit from cloud-based label management system – visit the Label Cloud page.