Are the labels you slap on products and packaging holding your business back? Labels do more than you might think and making a smart choice can tighten up your processes, save time and resources, and sidestep sticky problems that can be expensive in the long run. The right labels should help you do business better.
The Cost of Getting By.
We’re all familiar with traditional paper labels we stick on everything from postal mail to file folders. But in a warehouse environment, traditional labels quickly hit their limits.
The first problem that commonly plagues businesses pushing their luck with traditional labels is smearing. Labels are useless if no one can read what’s on them and smeared printing is often to blame. Regardless of the ink you use, printed paper is vulnerable in warehouse environments and the risks are not limited to smearing.
Paper labels easily rip or tear when boxes are stacked, sorted and loaded onto conveyor belts, tightly packed shelves, forklifts and trucks. As a result, reprinting becomes a way of life.
Reprinting a label may not seem like a big deal, but reprinting also burns time and slows down operations and in a distribution center, efficiency is often the name of the game. Information must be retrieved and reprinted before a new label can be placed on an item and returned to circulation. That means workers must stop what they’re doing and devote time to making the correction. The product or package may then be delayed resulting in failure to meet timing expectations. If labeling errors or delays impact the flow of sensitive materials, regulatory fines may also come into play.
Think covering paper labels with clear tape controls the problem? Taping also takes time, money and resources, and could add up to more than the price of better labels in the first place. And tape doesn’t protect paper labels from heat, chemicals, and other warehouse realities.
The Right Label for the Right Job.
Which labels match the purpose of your business and your work environment? Even if you step up to industrial-grade labels, you can still suffer the consequences of a poor label choice. One of the biggest problems with any kind of label is they can simply just fall off.
Industrial labels have multiple layers specifically designed for durability and stickiness. They’re also designed to be used with equipment that reads and processes them.
As more Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) takes hold in warehouse operations, reliable labels that work well with RFID readers and printers are paramount. And the right industrial labels can make using complex RFID and barcoding systems easier.
Warehouse and distribution centers need labels that support large cases, pallets and powerful cross-docking applications, while manufacturers tend to choose options that match work-in-process and product ID/serial number applications, as well as security and product lifecycle tagging processes. These days, you’ll even see advanced labels on healthcare equipment and documents, tightening the flow of data between providers, patients and pharmacists.
General purpose RFID labels can typically handle core warehouse needs, while more sophisticated labels featuring encryption and other advanced capabilities, like longer reading distances, offer heavily regulated industries more protection and efficiency. No matter what you choose, a successful RFID solution always requires a high-performing thermal label and inlay.
Choosing Wisely Starts With the Source.
Matching printing labels with your company’s purpose and work environment begins with the right supplier who understands what you’re up against. Before you swing by an office store or go fishing on the internet, we recommend you contact one of our industry specialists to help you find the right labels for your environment.
We carry labels for RFID readers, barcode scanners, and industrial cards, and have printers and labels for general-purpose, advanced, and special-use applications. Our experience in manufacturing, distribution center, and warehouse environments along with our partnerships with top industrial technology manufacturers has made us a key partner for industrial companies across the Midwest region,