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July 7, 2020


Streamlining supply chain processes in the cloud: Reduce your inventory and move product through the warehouse faster

Ken Moir

All business processes are under scrutiny in today’s competitive marketplace, regardless of the industry. Businesses cannot afford to ignore legacy process and systems which add cost and time to their products and services. In many industries margins are slim and delivery expectations can be almost instantaneous; it can make the difference between being profitable or not.

For those businesses which are dependent on a large number of suppliers, the problem becomes even more confounded. One of the leading causes of this could be having to deal with multiple labeling standards. For instance, when suppliers each have their own custom-made labeling system, warehouse staff may need to identify inbound products themselves, leading to increased stock turnaround times, potentially misidentified products and possible missed production deadlines.

But while these problems have been recognized for many years, organizations have struggled to find the perfect solution. As the world digitally transforms around us, surely these advances in technology can be applied to the labeling process, speeding up the supply chain, reducing inventories as well as improving efficiencies in the warehouse?

A cloud-based solution

The answer lies in the cloud. It offers the key to consistent, standardized labeling by allowing label information to be stored centrally and extended to suppliers over the web. And because all the information is hosted in the cloud, it reduces any IT security concerns in terms of securing the business infrastructure.

In fact, using the cloud can make life easier for everyone in the supply chain:

  • It guarantees the same label output, regardless of the supplier’s printer brand or technology. It gives consistent, brand-compliant labeling, and suppliers get to keep their existing IT infrastructure
  • It reduces the IT burden and security risks. With cloud-based supplier labeling, IT staff don’t have to spend time granting suppliers access to internal labeling infrastructure. This saves time and IT resources, and it protects systems and key data from unauthorized access. Suppliers always have access to the most updated version of the label template
  • Suppliers have a zero IT burden. All they need is a username, a password and an Internet-enabled device
  • Suppliers get up and running quickly. The Cloud offers instant deployment and a quick on-boarding process

Tangible business benefits

Businesses which have already implemented a cloud-based labeling solution have benefitted from reduced inventory, increased agility, accuracy and speed to market, as well as cost savings and increased compliance.

Würth, a global market leader in the sale of fastening and assembly materials, originally had a labeling solution built on a locally installed database. Because of this, any label change requirements involved sending CDs with all the updates to their suppliers. This not only resulted in delays, but often the wrong labels were applied, and it was impossible to keep track of who was using which label version.

However, since implementing a cloud-based printing solution for approximately 180 of their suppliers, Wurth IT has managed to realize many benefits in its supply chain;

Increased agility

The web-based, standardized solution means that the business is able to react quickly when any label changes are required. These changes can then be quickly rolled out across the supplier network, ensuring all labels are always up-to-date.

Centralized management

A cloud-based system gives a complete overview of which suppliers are accessing the system as well as a complete print history. It means that all users are always printing the correct version of each label.

Fast onboarding

Wurth’s cloud-based system allows suppliers to trial the software first, and test it with their infrastructure, before needing a full-scale implementation. And it only takes five minutes to give suppliers access.

Moving forward

It used to be that large suppliers wouldn’t feel it necessary to comply with their customer’s labeling requests. Or if they did, their IT resources may not have been compatible with the labeling solution. However, the manufacturing industry of today is fiercely competitive, and more suppliers are willing to adopt the labeling processes which their customers require.

Anything which can make this as seamless as possible is, therefore, a very attractive solution. A cloud-based solution negates the problems associated with wrong label versions or multiple template formats. And as changes and printing are tracked across the whole supply chain, compliance can be assured. This means less time spent managing inventory and more time ensuring that end products are being manufactured and sent out to the customers where they’re needed. This is the goal for anyone involved in a supply chain.

To learn more, visit the NiceLabel’s supplier labeling solution page.

  • Cloud
  • Supply Chain