Are Outdated Coding and Marking Practices Holding Back Your New or Small Business’ Production?
Picture this, you’ve spent weeks, months, even years preparing to launch your own business; you’ve planned out every step of the process leading up to this day, but the real question is, have you thought about what comes next? What’s the plan for whenever production starts to ramp up, or whenever you start adding new product lines, or even when the possibility for expansion is on the horizon?
Starting your own business is a monumental step, but once you start growing there are requirements and deadlines that need to be met, so you can understand why handling all of these tasks manually isn’t possible. In the beginning stages of the process you might have been packaging your products and applying labels by hand, but when demand grows so does your workload. At some point you’re going to have to retire those outdated practices and select ones that are more efficient for your operation. Here are the top five indicators that your coding and marking processes are in need of an upgrade.
Regulations Need to be Met
One of the greatest responsibilities that business owners, manufacturers, and retailers have is ensuring their customer’s safety and satisfaction, so before products are even shipped out of your base, let alone make it onto store shelves, certain elements of traceability have to be met first. Information like lot codes, date codes, batch codes, barcodes, QR codes, timestamps, and other codes have to be present on your product before customers can acquire them.
Larger retailers and distributors won’t agree to stock your product unless those codes are present because it could pose a liability issue to their establishments and a threat to customers. If you’ve ever seen companies recalling a product, whether it be perishable or non-perishable, then you know it’s because some kind of design flaw, side effect, safety risk, or contaminant was found. Thanks to traceability information, affected products can be identified and recalled quickly; plus those codes give insights from the product’s origination to its final destination.
Information Needs to be Applied Consistently
It’s safe to say that wherever manual labor goes, human error is not far behind and when it comes to expanding your product’s reach, clarity and consistency matter. While applying labels by hand or writing information yourself might have been the best option when you were first starting your business, once growth and demand strike, you’ll realize that that option goes straight out the window. Let’s face it, manually applying labels can lead to inconsistencies in placement as well as material waste if the wrong information was added.
Say you’re writing date codes, lot codes, and batch codes directly onto your products, what are the chances that that information won’t rub off or that it’ll be legible to all of your customers? Maybe you’re not writing information directly onto the product, maybe you’re applying stickers instead, it wouldn't be difficult for that information to be peeled off or damaged throughout the process. Regardless of your current process, it’s important to keep in mind that retailers look for clear, present, and uniform traceability codes.
Product Volume is Exceeding Current Capabilities
When the demand for production strikes, will you be prepared to handle the new workload, or will you get caught off guard? While labeling products manually might have been a reliable option in the beginning, once your company starts growing, your marking process should be able to grow alongside it as well. The last thing you’d want to do is limit your production capabilities because your coding and marking process are playing catch up.
Hypothetically, let’s say that a startup company just received their first 1,000 unit order and the customer is asking if they can ship it out within the next day or two; Sure adding coding and marking information wouldn’t be as bad if you had a whole team helping you fill the order, but most start-up or small businesses aren’t quite at that level yet. While it might not seem like a lot, the average person would have to label 62-63 bottles per hour to fulfill the 1,000 unit order within the span of 2 work days or 16 work hours. While no one likes to consider this option, if you know your production runs and current coding and marking processes can’t handle the load, then there’s nothing left to do except decline the opportunity, or is there?
Outsourcing Takes too Long and it’s Costly
If you don’t want to turn down larger opportunities, like the one we mentioned before, then you don’t have to; it’s just a matter of finding a third-party coding and marking company to take on that task for you. Of course it’s important to note that if your customer is looking for quick turnaround times, then maybe outsourcing isn’t the route for you. There’s the matter of shipping the product to that third-party company, waiting for them to print that information onto your product, then getting it shipped back to you and finally sending it off to your customer.
Not only is outsourcing a lot of back and forth, but you also have to keep in mind that not everything goes according to plan; equipment breaks down, there are shipping delays and losses, costs pile up, there are quota requirements, and the list goes on and on. Like the saying goes, “if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself.”
Trouble Adapting to New Packaging & Materials
While in the beginning your business might have only been focusing on one or two products, as you begin to grow, so will your product lines; which means new packaging and new packaging means new coding and marking requirements. Not only is it important to include those date codes, lot codes, batch codes, barcodes, QR codes, and other traceability codes, but it's important to make sure that that information is clear and legible. If you’re applying labels manually, then one of the issues you might run into is your current label not being compatible with your new packaging.
Remember, regardless if you’re switching to a different style of packaging or changing the material being used, the need for coding and marking stays the same.
How would you like to dedicate more time to growing and developing your business, as opposed to having to worry about whether or not your product meets distributor and retail regulations? Coding and marking processes don’t have to be complicated, expensive, or time consuming; the majority of our SNEED-JET ® thermal-inkjet coding systems can be set up within an hour or two; the cost of these systems are reasonable and crisp-clear prints can be produced in a matter of seconds. Not to mention that if you get stuck at any point of the process, there are an infinite amount of resources on our site to help guide you; if that doesn’t resolve your issue, then our technical support team is always on standby to answer any questions you might have.
If you’re interested in saving time, money, and labor, then now’s the time to begin researching if SNEED-JET ® thermal-inkjet technology is the right fit for your process.