Enterprise labelling for a connected, flexible and efficient supply chain

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By Josh Roffman, VP Product Management, Loftware.

Looking toward the future, businesses are taking a more standardised approach and respecting the importance that labelling solutions play in the supply chain. Companies are beginning to understand that they need to develop a labelling strategy alongside their supply chain strategy. They are working toward identifying a solution to meet all of the challenges of functioning in today's global supply chain. This new focus on the strategic value of labelling has required a different and innovative approach to labelling called "Enterprise Labelling."

Enterprise Labelling integrates labelling processes with business processes to standardise mission-critical labelling. This dynamic and data driven approach, which allows businesses to react to evolving customer, regional and regulatory requirements, empowers business users to quickly and efficiently design and maintain barcode labels. It also ensures consistency across a global supply chain enabling companies to meet performance and scalability requirements with the power and flexibility to support complex, global and high volume labelling requirements.

Labelling has become a strategic imperative and C-Level executives are recognising labelling as a mission-critical component that impacts both their top and bottom lines. Enterprise Labelling Solutions offer a smarter and more efficient way of doing business, which provides standardization and centralisation, allowing companies to achieve labelling consistency and flexibility to support changing requirements. This approach provides a labelling platform that is scalable and easily supported and maintained.

Improving Performance, Consistency & Efficiency Across a Global Supply Chain

Barcode labels bridge almost every aspect of the manufacturing, warehousing and distribution processes, to intersect multiple points across the supply chain. Barcode labels allow businesses to identify, group, ship, locate and track goods and merchandise that flow upstream and downstream in their supply chain.

Doing business in today's global supply chain has become a complex challenge. International regulations, global distribution channels and evolving customer requirements are becoming the norm, and companies are starting to recognise labelling as a mission–critical component of the supply chain.

Labelling influences a variety of strategic business drivers including Regulatory Standards & Compliance, Customer Responsiveness, Business Continuity, Enterprise Collaboration and Supply Chain Efficiency. These drivers can have a significant influence on the performance and overall success of your business. Therefore, it is essential that labelling strategies evolve alongside supply chain strategies for companies to be successful.

However, businesses today that are attempting to address these key supply chain drivers are consistently hampered by their approach to labelling and the barcode labelling solutions they have implemented. Many labelling solutions have not been designed to scale with the business and are not integrated with the existing business processes and vital data sources to provide standardization and consistency. Companies are struggling with how to address a variety of labelling challenges that range from adapting to today's evolving landscape of regulatory standards and entering new markets to addressing mislabelling and customer requirements.

Implementing an Enterprise Labelling approach will help your company meet the demands of these key business drivers and improve performance, consistency and efficiency across the global supply chain.

A New Enterprise-Wide Approach to Labelling

Enterprise Labeling Solutions empower companies to deal with the nuances of today's complex labelling requirements and regulations, and the ability to support high levels of variability in labelling, while providing the speed and scalability to support global supply chains. This smarter and more efficient way of doing business provides standardisation, allowing companies to achieve consistency and flexibility to support changing labelling requirements. It also provides a platform that is scalable and easily supported and maintained.

Connecting Labelling with Business Processes
Enterprise Labelling integrates labeling processes with business processes to standardize mission-critical labelling across the supply chain. Providing the opportunity to work with existing business processes and vital data sources allows companies to standardize and offer consistency throughout their operations. This approach allows user to save time and money by allowing companies to maximize existing investments and eliminating the need to retrain users.

Enabling Integrated, Automated Labelling
Essential functionality in today's solutions include certified integration capabilities to allow companies to automate their labelling process, directly leverage sources of truth for label data, and avoid mislabelling issues which can cost businesses time and money. Integrating an Enterprise Labelling Solution with enterprise applications and existing business processes allows companies to maintain existing systems and user interactions, while automating their labelling processes and improving overall supply chain efficiency.

Allowing Rapid Change via Data-Driven Labelling
Companies faced with evolving customer and business requirements can streamline label changes with advanced business logic. This enables label formatting and content to change dynamically to support a myriad of different label combinations with a minimum number of label designs. Business logic can be quickly and easily configured by users to support a wide range of regional, language, customer and regulatory requirements, while enabling the automatic routing of print requests. When labelling changes are needed, users can quickly and easily configure business rules to redefine labelling to support the new requirements. Also, configurable business rules remove a significant burden from IT to eliminate the need to maintain custom code or manage a staggering number of label designs.

Empowering Business Users to Manage Label Design
Enterprise Labelling Solutions allow centralized control and consistency enabling users across an organisation to access and update label templates. These solutions offer business users the flexibility to design labels that meet evolving requirements without needing IT, eliminating resource bottlenecks and speeding the process. Also, browser-based capabilities make deploying design capabilities and managing usage easier than ever.

Supporting High Volume Global Printing
For global organisations it's critical to be able to print to a diverse set of printer makes and models with the speed and performance needed to support your operations. Enterprise Labelling Solutions allow companies to optimise speed and network efficiency by communicating with printers in their native language, with the ability to design labels independent of the printer make/model. Loftware can automate the print process, whether driven directly from enterprise applications, mobile devices or browser-based, on-demand interfaces to maximize print performance.

Extending Labelling for Business Partners
Enabling partners in the supply chain to partake in the labelling process, cuts costs, and streamlines operations. Empowering suppliers and business partners to execute label printing enables immediate deployment of label changes, while ensuring accuracy and adherence to standards. Browser-based, on-demand print capabilities enable central control of label designs while providing flexibility to print anywhere across the global supply chain. This practice increases supply chain efficiency, while decreasing the risk and associated costs of mislabelling.

Providing Simplified Maintenance and Deployment
Offering the ability to standardise and deploy labelling solutions on a centralized basis provides great flexibility. Enterprise Labelling provides complete control over how capabilities are deployed across their global landscape, from design to print, to integration. This approach also provides a standard for labelling which allows businesses to maintain consistency and provide another level of scalability and reliability to support a global network of printers. The focus, even when deploying solutions in a distributed fashion, is to continue to maintain the ability to leverage common data sources, components and configurations across sites. This is essential to handle the rigors of global infrastructures, allowing users to manage outages and connectivity issues, while providing high availability, failover and disaster recovery capabilities.

Leveraging Best Practices and Domain Experience
Most uniquely, Enterprise Labelling Solutions stress the importance of domain expertise in labelling. This approach focuses on understanding the unique regulations, business processes and regional nuances that are pervasive in each industry. At the same time, the mission-critical nature of labelling in a global supply chain requires expert level round the clock support to enable continuous operations.

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