May 19, 2020
Cloud-based labeling system: An essential business continuity tool in the age of remote collaboration
Today, every company faces the reality that a plan for business continuity is essential. The size of the company doesn’t matter – business continuity does, and with every manufacturer needing to label its products, label management is a key process that must keep running to ensure inventory can quickly move through supply chains and reach retailers and consumers as fast as possible.
Now more than ever, the cloud is becoming an essential tool in maintaining business continuity. With cloud-based labeling, no one has to be on site to troubleshoot labeling problems, as any authorized remote user can quickly alter and print labels from anywhere at any location.
Outdated methods of labeling, such as hard coding label templates, using manual (paper-based) quality assurance practices and locally managing labels can delay label changes and cripple supply chains. Luckily, it can be relatively easy for organizations to adopt a cloud-based system that centralizes operations and integrates with other business systems.
To help companies streamline their labeling and future-proof for disasters, increased remote working, and shifting consumer demands, I’ve outlined the below best practices on remote and cloud-based labeling systems companies can follow to ensure proper labeling is applied quickly and distributed on products to end-users as quickly as possible.
Adopt a system that enables business user friendly label design
Picture the following scenario. You’re a manufacturer that’s suddenly shifted from the world of high fashion to helping to rapidly output personal protection equipment for those battling illness on the frontlines of a pandemic. You know what to put on your new labels, but IT can’t come to design the label or troubleshoot issues in person because everyone is quarantined at home. This challenge could arise for any business which needs to create a new label or even make changes to an existing one.
The issue could be prevented entirely with the use of a cloud-based label management system that provides a central repository of ready to use templates that can be altered remotely and quickly by IT or even business users. While such technology may have seemed like a luxury in the past, it is now essential.
Reduce the labor involved in printing labels on locally installed systems
This ties to the point above. You may have had a system that produced accurate labels, but it was labor intensive for everyone involved. Perhaps it required software or IT infrastructure that needed to be deployed and configured at every site, or the solution required on-site technicians to troubleshoot server or even desktop issues.
Not only will this require additional resources, but it also slows down operations and does not provide the agility needed for organizations to shift strategies or implement new technology quickly. The answer to this is adopting a centralized platform that can be remotely deployed, easily adopted and effortlessly integrated with your existing business systems and your existing hardware for seamless label printing.
Ensure consistent labeling without requiring changes to suppliers’ IT infrastructure
An organization may work with a variety of suppliers and partners that all have varying IT infrastructures and levels of technical expertise, as well as disconnected systems that make goods receiving a challenge.
It’s not easy for suppliers to design the labels that the customer requires, and this tends to result in goods having to be quarantined or relabeled before being booked into the warehouse. To address this, a cloud-based label management system can ensure the accurate and brand-consistent labels are outputted, regardless of what IT skills or printers a supplier may use, or if you need them to print barcode or RFID labels. Going beyond this, it can further improve efficiency by reducing inventory and moving products through the warehouse faster.
Use a centralized system to ensure labeling does not become a black box
When you’re moving fast, it’s vital to trace all your steps. This will help prevent errors from happening and pay dividends if you must recover from a recall, and could even prevent counterfeiting. For some, however, it can be a challenge to understand the inner working of supply chain partners’ labeling processes. This can reduce visibility and slow down delivery. By using a centralized, cloud-based labeling solution, supply chain partners can access a central labeling platform for designing, updating, and printing labels. This eliminates resources tied up in repetitive administrative tasks like recreating the same label, which minimizes requirements for technical support and ensures every label that is printed is recorded, providing total transparency for the label printing process.
Be ready to work remote by embracing collaboration anywhere
The ability to collaborate from any location is necessary to future proof an organization and ensure business continuity in the face of a wide range of adverse circumstances. In this regard, labeling is no different from other industries. With a cloud-based label management system, no one has to be on site to fix issues and the system can support efficient and fast labeling from any location.
In addition to the software, organizations must also buy into an approach that empowers users to work together from any location. This means equipping staff with the right tools, like virtual audio-visual equipment for at-home conferencing, and ensuring frequent communications with remote partners, so no issues fall through the cracks and the business of labeling is as efficient as possible.
Labeling must help ensure packaging is never an obstacle to supply chains
Our world is changing, and so too is the technology driving business forward. The recent crisis has simply accelerated the need for all businesses to think proactively about how they’re ensuring continued growth and success. At the same time, we’ve also seen remarkable actions and shifting strategies by businesses across industries, such as fashion brands re-focusing on personal protection equipment, manufacturers shifting to rapidly supplying critical healthcare supplies to hospitals, and food producers and charities working to fight hunger. These organizations need to move fast, and with the technology available, there is no reason labeling should cause delays. And this same technology can help any company not only continue to operate throughout a crisis, but also get ahead once the dust has settled.
Find out how your business can benefit from cloud-based label management system – visit the Label Cloud page.