Accurate and efficient labeling is essential for any supply chain, as it plays a critical role in everything from avoiding errors to increasing visibility and ensuring goods move quickly from point A to point B. It’s here that supplier compliance and cooperation is extremely valuable. But, as many who work with massive networks of third-party suppliers, contract manufacturers, re-packagers, re-labelers and more can attest, implementing a standard labeling approach across many stakeholders can be a daunting task.
New advancements are rapidly changing this dynamic, however, and with cloud technology, organizations can effortlessly extend a consistent, centralized labeling process to internal stakeholders and third-party suppliers. Below, are a few reasons why this is needed and possible.
The impact of unstandardized labeling across suppliers
A lack of supplier compliance with labeling standards will likely cause a slew of issues. Here are just a few common problems:
- When suppliers don’t use consistent labeling or don’t label things at all, warehouse staff may need to manually identify inbound products themselves or even open boxes to see what’s inside. This is an expensive and risky method for processing goods-in.
- If warehouse staff do not identify a product correctly, they will have inaccurate stock data. This could mean missed production deadlines.
- Inbound goods may have to be relabeled at different sites.
- Extra processing time means stock turnaround times will be longer, and businesses will need more warehouse space and staff to house and manage goods.
- Suppliers may use labeling methods that make it difficult for the manufacturer to adhere to traceability requirements and regulations.
The bottom line is that a decentralized approach to labeling causes increased labor costs, slower time-to-market and a more inefficient supply chain.
Working with suppliers to improve labeling
While it can be frustrating when suppliers don’t follow a certain labeling standard, effective supplier management is about maintaining good relationships, not forcing suppliers to comply with a preferred approach. For this reason, many manufacturers have chosen to print their own labels, rather than struggling with their suppliers over control of the labeling process. This is not ideal, especially when many suppliers wish they could comply with a customer’s labeling requirements, but do not have the tools to do so.
Suppliers may have nonexistent or sub-par IT infrastructures, or they may think they would be drowning in software programs and label templates if they adopted the labeling standards of every customer. Yet, some will still spend days, weeks or even months before realizing that, in many cases, compliance just isn’t feasible. This is where a cloud-based approach can help.
Improving supplier labeling with a cloud-based approach
A successful method for supplier labeling revolves around making labeling easier for both manufacturers and suppliers alike. Cloud-based tools can help make this possible by enabling organizations to centrally store and manage labels. This makes it easy to extend standardized labeling approaches to suppliers over the Web.
Here are just a few benefits from using the cloud:
- The cloud offers instant deployment, so suppliers get up and running quickly.
- The cloud comes with zero IT burden and enables suppliers to instantly access the most up-to-date versions of label templates.
- The cloud can enable the same label output, no matter what printer or technology a supplier uses. This allows for consistent, compliant labeling, and suppliers get to keep using their existing IT environments.
- The cloud reduces IT burden and security risks from unauthorized access because IT does not have to spend time granting suppliers access to an organization’s internal labeling infrastructure.
By using technology to make complying with labeling standards easy, you get more consistent labels and improved supplier relationships. This means less time spent unloading trucks, better oversight and control over inventory, significant capital savings and faster times to market.
Looking to the future with cloud-based labeling
Cloud-based label management not only makes the process more efficient and easier for manufacturers and suppliers alike, but it also sets organizations in a position to harness new trends. For instance, data is becoming essential to driving success, and those who manage labeling in the cloud can gain better control and insights into their data. This means, on many levels, cloud is becoming a more effective tool for labeling than ever before. So, if you haven’t started using it yet, why wait? Visit www.nicelabel.com/label-cloud to learn about Label Cloud that helps businesses of all sizes manage labeling, from label design to print and every step in between.