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Barcode Labeling Solutions Supplies Warehouse and Distribution

Improving Warehouse Efficiency Through 5 Effective Labeling Strategies

There are a number of technologies that can help improve warehouse efficiency, but there is one that is so common within the warehouse that it might be overlooked as a productivity tool — the barcode label.

Labeling is part and parcel of inventory management at many warehouses, but an effective and holistic labeling strategy can extend the benefits of the technology to different operational areas. Barcode labels are designed to provide increased picking productivity and accuracy, and they can also improve the way goods and people flow through your facility.

Here are five parts of a well-thought-out labeling strategy that can improve your operations.

1. Pick the right labels. The first step in an effective labeling strategy is to select the right labels for the job. There are thousands of combinations of materials and adhesives. Make sure you have the right mix for the goods you are labeling and for your environment. The approach to labeling items with rough surfaces will be different than labeling items with smooth ones, for example. Cold storage warehouses or environments where labels will be exposed to contaminants also have special requirements.

2. Barcode all inventory. Having barcode labels on all products, cases, and pallets will greatly improve warehouse efficiency. Inventory will be more accurate, and you will automatically know how much of every item you have in each location. Picking will also be more accurate with a robust labeling program.

Not every item will arrive with a label that can be used for your internal tracking, however. Make sure you can print those custom labels on demand at receipt to ensure every item or case can be properly tracked.

3. Use efficient printing technologies. You can reduce time and material waste at the printer by using linerless labels or labels that use thinner liners. This will give you more labels per roll with less waste and less time spent on roll changes.
Also, deploy printers that are easy to service and clean so that consumable can be quickly changed when necessary.

4. Label all of your locations. You don’t have to restrict labeling to inventory. You can label every aisle, bin, shelf, and other location with a combination of shelf tags, floor tags, and even hanging signs. These can all be labeled with barcodes and scanned using long-range scanners. Having location data easily married to inventory data will provide for much faster putaway and picking. It will also reduce the amount of walking that warehouse workers have to do in order to complete a pick. With clearly labeled racks and shelves, employees can more quickly find the right inventory for each order. Custom barcode labels that also include other graphics can help provide direction to employees and improve traffic flow in the warehouse.

5. Use mobile printers. Walking back and forth to a stationary label printer can eat up an enormous amount of time. Provide mobile label printers that staff can carry on their belts. Combined with a mobile computer, this will allow them to generate labels at the point of activity. This can increase both the speed and accuracy of your labeling operation.

By taking the time to evaluate where labeling can provide additional benefits, your labeling strategies can streamline operations and improve warehouse efficiency. Don’t underestimate the potential value that labeling can have — look beyond boxes and pallets.

Categories
Retail RFID Hardware RFID Software Supplies

How Item-Level Tagging with RFID Media can Benefit Retailers

Over the course of the past decade, industries of all types have started to recognize the benefits of radio frequency identification, or RFID.  The retail industry is no exception: RFID provides a significant return on investment because it minimizes the effort needed to efficiently track and manage inventory.  Competitiveness in retail is at an all-time high, and every technology must be taken advantage of in order for businesses to stay profitable.

Inventory management is vital to the success of a retail store, but RFID also works to eliminate shrinkage while improving the customer experience.  Let’s take an in-depth look at how retailers benefit from item-level tagging with RFID media:

Accuracy and productivity

The ability to accurately track products throughout the entire supply chain is critical for businesses that want to minimize costs stemming from cycle and safety stock levels.  RFID media can be used to tag each item in an entire inventory, making it possible for retailers to achieve complete visibility for their supply chains.

Increased visibility leads to more accurate understanding of the inventory and smarter business decisions can be made as a result.  RFID technology is much faster and more reliable than time consuming line of sight cycle counts; businesses that take advantage of RFID stand to experience a great deal of savings on labor costs and are also able to manage labor efficiently.

Better security and less theft

The accuracy afforded by item-level tagging goes hand in hand with the prevention of theft and shrinkage. RFID is a great way to create accountability throughout the supply chain.  RFID badges can be used to monitor employees and their actions within a warehouse.  If items go missing, it is possible to determine which employee was in the area at the time of the theft.

RFID is able to prevent theft in most cases, but in cases where items are actually stolen, RFID tagging will let managers/owners know which items were stolen.  While this might not seem important, it is impossible to replace an item if you don’t know what it is. Failing to identify stolen items creates inventory inaccuracies.  Item-level tagging is paramount to the security of inventory.

Improved customer experience

A more accurate and efficient supply chain helps create an improved customer experience.  Even if a problem occurs in the warehouse, supply chains are fluid and inefficiencies are always liable to trickle down to the end user or customer.

Full inventory visibility allows business owners to have a better understanding of what it selling, when it is selling, and where it is selling.  If a store owner can see that a particular area or areas of his/her store is receiving more foot traffic, it is possible to adjust what products are in those areas.  Customers may naturally gravitate to certain aisles or sections of a store, so it would behoove a retailer to move higher-profit items to those areas.

Item-level tagging with RFID media offers retailers a wide range of benefits.  RFID tags can even automate inventory replenishment/ordering.  If an RFID reader is placed under a shelf, it can be set to notify a store rep or simply create an inventory order from an ERP system.