Today’s requirements for accurate label content are leading manufacturers to re-evaluate their label printing. Label requirements are more complex. Key factors driving this complexity include industry compliance, customer requirements, international regulations, and internal content requirements to name a few. These factors are providing a reason for industry to re-examine their labeling and data management practices and are discovering that looking at label printing as a system rather than a stand-alone activity is providing opportunities to reduce cost, reduce waste and save time.
For a chemical manufacturer in West Central Ohio, adopting a systems approach to labeling provided numerous benefits.
Four Different Programs were Needed to Print Labels
SKUs were created in the manufacturer’s ERP system, but the regulatory, safety and branding information were in separate software systems. The line operator had to access four different software systems just to print a set of labels for one product. Using label stock preprinted with static as well as variable information, such as DOT hazard diamonds, often led to errors.
Managing a Large Number of Label Files
The manufacturer was managing over 9,000 label formats, creating a PDF file for every SKU in their system. A change of any type required each file be updated individually, which was time consuming. The process had a lot of redundancy and was prone to error.
Labels Printed Offline Ahead of Production
“We were producing labels 4 to 5 days in advance of a production run,” said the company’s Senior Regulatory Specialist. “If a shift couldn’t find the labels they needed a production time, they’d just reprint new labels. Sometimes we had too many labels, which wasted material, and other times we have to stop and print a few more, which wasted time and labor. The preprinted stock we used was expensive, and the amount of media we were throwing away was unacceptable.”
AbeTech POWERPRINT provided a simple graphical interface that allows centralized control of data and labeling, providing a solution that streamlined printing and increased efficiencies in their operation. Here’s how:
POWERPRINT Connects Data Sources
The POWERPRINT interface connects the 4 different information sources into one. Labeling is now data driven, automatically populating the label with the correct information, in the correct quantity, to the correct location. A system that previously was prone to error isn’t anymore.
Managing Label Formats and Revision
Using BarTender software to create labels and manage label revision, the number of label files were reduced from more than 9,000 to 24 label templates. This was possible using the layering feature of the BarTender software. Similar labels now share a dynamic label template and are data driven so only information for that specific label is pulled into the template and printed. Redundant data entry is no longer required.
When changes are necessary, only the template is changed which automatically updates all the label files associated with it. Creating new labels and managing revisions is done quickly and efficiently.
Label Printing is Closely Tied to Production
Printing for production labeling, is now done just prior to the production run and are triggered by the operator scanning or entering the job number. Label waste from printing too many labels and production interruptions to print more labels have been eliminated.
One additional benefit gained from POWERPRINT enterprise labeling is the system is easy scalable. As the manufacturer acquired new manufacturing facilities, POWERPRINT was ready to be installed and is now up and running in 6 additional sites, located in 5 states.
For more information on the POWERPRINT options used in this custom solution, call AbeTech now at 888.682.3113 or email us to learn more and request a free consultation.