Barcode case labeling is one of the most important stages in the food manufacturing process – it’s the basis of warehousing, shipping, recalls and audits. Food manufacturing companies spend countless hours managing barcode labels to remain compliant with customer requirements and the USDA or CFIA. The benefits of a good label management system include allowing you to manage your tray, case and pallet barcode labels efficiently and effectively while remaining in full compliance.
Not so long ago, food manufacturers had a different label design for each product and stored them in binders on shelves. Another situation that we still occasionally see today is a warehouse with racks upon racks of rolls of preprinted labels.
Changing label designs is time consuming and tedious in both these cases.
For companies with a different label design for each product, once the label design change is approved and the binder updated, each of the plant floor label printing stations have to be updated, which is usually a manual process. In such cases, there is always the danger that a revised label design doesn’t make it to every plant floor station, creating potential compliance issues.
For companies that use pre-print labels, there is the cost of disposing of the old label stock and replenishing with new labels, but there is also the danger that not all of the old stock will be thrown away and might make it into production, likewise creating serious compliance risks.
A Barcode Label Design Management System uses label templates where the label design is built with data field references such as product descriptions, production/ship before/sell by dates, tare and net weights and so on. Label templates are assigned to products and the product data is used to fill the template at print time and the resulting label design is printed.
A Barcode Label Design Management System provides the ability to assign a label template to multiple products. Therefore, you can apply a change across multiple products with a change to one template. A label design change might come from changes to legislation and might affect every label that you produce, or it might come from a single customer and only affect a small portion of your overall product mix. Either way, you can make changes to multiple products with an update to a single template.
If your label changes are across all of your labels this might require updating a number of templates, but that’s still much faster and more effective than going through your label designs for each and every product.
A comprehensive Barcode Label Design Management System can provide a paper trail of who made changes, when they were made, and when they were released to production. Different system users log in using a secure login and the changes that they make are tracked. If there are ever any issues with a label change, you can quickly see who was involved and when the change was approved.
Key Features to look for in a good barcode label design management system:
- Centralized label management
- Label design approval process with audit tracking
- Embedded graphics
- Variable graphics
- A true WYSIWYG Label Design Editor