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February 16, 2023

Blog

Top 5 Trends for 2023: Why cloud technology is the future for labeling, packaging, and supply chain agility

Laura Hindley

Senior PR & Communications Manager

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, companies of all sizes are seeking new ways to improve supply chain agility and safeguard their operations. One solution that has grown in popularity is the use of the cloud. Although the technology has been around for many years, it’s only recently that the industry as a whole has adopted this method in favor of traditional data centers that require dedicated hardware resources.

Loftware’s 10th annual ‘Top 5 Trends in Labeling & Packaging Artwork’ report, which draws on insights from almost 500 professionals across industries in 55 countries, mirrored this shift in attitudes toward cloud technology. Driven by the need to insulate operations from ongoing supply chain disruptions, product shortages, cost pressures, process inefficiencies, and manual errors, the survey revealed that 50% of businesses already deploy important business applications in the cloud, up 10% from 2022. Additionally, 71% believe the cloud or a hybrid solution will be their preferred deployment method for labeling within the next three years.

Cloud-first labeling offers many benefits

Josh Roffman, Loftware Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, commented: “Cloud adoption is proving to be the cornerstone of impactful digital transformation programs, as evidenced by the strong feedback we have received from our customers and partners. As companies of all sizes strive to increase profitability, drive growth, and streamline operations, we expect to see a growing number of forward-thinking organizations adopt the cloud for mission-critical business processes including labeling.”

So, why is the cloud becoming the preferred choice for so many companies? Well, the cloud provides quick deployment times, lower upfront costs, easy access, the ability to scale, and automatic updates. With this in mind, it's no surprise that more and more organizations are turning to cloud technology. In fact, Gartner predicts that over 50% of enterprises will be using industry cloud platforms by 2027.

Supply chain challenges linger

The report also revealed the impact of supply chain challenges on businesses. A whopping 80% of business leaders report that supply chain issues have directly impacted their operations, while 93% say it's important to have a business model that supports speed and agility.

Furthermore, 62% of survey respondents believe that extending labeling to partners and suppliers will save time, money, and resources by avoiding the need to re-label products. This is crucial in today's global supply chain, which requires new levels of visibility and agility as companies expand into new regions and strive to meet increasing regulatory and customer demands.

Traceability remains key for supply chains

Facilitating transparency is key to creating resilient supply chains, and 70% of survey respondents told us that global traceability is a priority for their business in the coming year. This is because companies need to ensure quality, protect patients, streamline inventory location, and guarantee on-time delivery to market. In fact, 49% of those surveyed believe the biggest risk of not being able to track products through the supply chain is the inability to effectively manage recalls, up from 33% four years ago.

By leveraging the benefits of cloud technology, businesses can provide faster reaction times in case of potential recalls, avoid risks from counterfeit goods, ensure customer safety, avoid unnecessary loss and waste, and protect their brand reputation. And that's not all – these intelligent supply chains can also help companies deliver on their corporate social responsibility goals by tracking, tracing, and authenticating products at every stage of the journey, from raw materials to consumer goods.

Industry 4.0 to play an important role

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, will also have a significant impact on companies and their manufacturing operations. When it comes to printing on the production line, our survey illustrates that far too many businesses still rely on closed-loop systems that have disconnected, purpose-built software for different devices, resulting in manual and error-prone marking and coding operations. In fact, 69% of businesses reported using multiple vendors for marking and coding at their facilities, while 41% said that label errors driven by manual processes are one of the biggest challenges in their current marking and coding environment.

But with the advancement of cloud-based technologies, companies can now use their marking and coding equipment as part of an intelligent factory operation. This offers integration capabilities to manage output for all their devices, from thermal and color laser printing to marking and coding devices, visual inspection systems, and serialization solutions. By adopting such a solution as part of a cloud-first strategy, businesses will gain printing flexibility, accuracy, production line uptime, and efficiency to manage costs and support global growth.

Learn more about Loftware’s key trends for 2023

Want to discover more about these trends? Download our report for free and watch our ‘2023 Top 5 Trends in Labeling & Packaging Artwork’ webinar.

  • Cloud
  • Supply Chain
  • Track and Trace