The intricacies and nuances of an organization’s labeling processes are… complicated to say the least, and one component contributing handily to that reality is labeling. For many organizations, the labeling process amounts to an amalgam of disparate, legacy systems, and it may be difficult to explain exactly why things are the way they are––past mergers, acquisitions, years of creative patchwork solutions that have solidified into permanent components of day-to-day operations. There may be all sorts of complicated histories that explain a reliance on a tangle of homegrown solutions.
Such solutions may ultimately achieve the end-goal of moving a good from point of manufacture to end user without incurring any penalties or fines, but surely the resources devoted to making them work cohesively could be better spent elsewhere. The bottom line is that compared to a singular, uniform labeling solution, even the best devised processes of this variety are more likely to encounter labeling errors. These errors will also require more time and energy to resolve due to the need for intervention at multiple points.
Mislabeling can equate to slow time to market, customer fines, regulatory penalties, and in some industries (life sciences, automotive, food and beverage, etc.), downright dangerous outcomes. Digital infrastructures are becoming more complex and more capable, which in turn makes labels responsible for containing and communicating details of a greater volume, variety and importance, and even minor setbacks can be disproportionately problematic. With so little room for error in a business world that offers no shortage of opportunities to encounter it, companies without standardized labeling processes are simply leaving too much to chance.
“Getting it wrong” can also mean missed opportunities. When e-commerce sales jumped by 44% in 2020, for instance, many online sellers were caught off-guard by the sudden increase, and those who had historically relied on legacy or homegrown solutions unsurprisingly had the most trouble rising to meet the demand. Even apart from the unique circumstances of the pandemic, any company that strives to expand into new geographies, take on new customers, or introduce new products to market must be capable of scaling their labeling to accommodate the expansion. Enterprise Labeling solutions offer this ability by providing easy-to-manage support for variations in format, barcodes, logos, language, and content with the benefit of flexibility and speed.
Business systems work best when they “talk” to one another, and Enterprise Labeling solutions make this a possibility because of their ability to integrate with multiple sources of truth. Although, organizations’ incapable of seamless integration not only unlikely to take advantage of their full growth potential, but also liable to present all levels of supply chain role players with preventable headaches from time to time.
Without a standardized and integrated labeling solution, IT teams may find themselves responsible for time-consuming fixes that would ideally be solved at the user level; logistics and supply chain executives may occasionally see their orderly operations thrown into disarray within minutes because of a single incorrect printer, data source, or label; and C-level executives may be frustrated by missed deadlines and the inability to plan strategically. “Where a CEO or COO may not be thinking about labeling every day,” says Josh Roffman, Global Vice President of Product Management at Loftware, “when something goes wrong and the ‘bell rings’ so to speak, it’s probably concerning a major issue that can impact a company’s ability to go to market.” In many cases, these issues can be linked back to the labeling function.
If missed deadlines, compliance difficulties, labeling errors, or a lack of production flexibility sound remotely familiar, then it’s time to consider the ROI that would come from adopting a global, standardized labeling system. A proactive stance, with a standardized Enterprise Labeling approach, along with a services and solutions team which offers labeling best practices, is an organization’s best bet to reduce the potential losses of time, money, and energy.
To learn more about how to eliminate risks of labeling errors and inefficiencies, download our paper, Making the Case for Enterprise Labeling, which outlines the benefits of implementing an efficient, singular labeling solution.