(VDC Research guest blog post for Loftware)
Barcode labels are the foundation of a sound track-and-trace initiative and facilitate seamless data collection and visibility throughout the supply chain. The information made available provides crucial insights into product flow and enables organizations to enhance their operations and productivity. In recent times, labeling has transitioned from simply being a means to better inventory management and improving data accuracy to being a mission-critical function that is helping them seamlessly connect their globally distributed operations. The labeling function is now an integral part of enterprise applications like ERP and WMS that bring about process improvements and cost reduction, to ensure content consistency and reliability across all supply chain participants.
Large, global organizations want to achieve visibility into every stage within their supply chains, at all the important stages of manufacturing and distribution to augment asset utilization, expedite order fulfillment, and improve overall accuracy, productivity, and even profitability. Given the central role that barcode labeling plays in achieving these desired strategic business process improvement objectives, companies are increasingly investing resources towards building teams dedicated to the labeling process and carving out specific profiles that are winding their way into manufacturing industries with especially stringent traceability requirements. Prominent tiles for individuals heading up this crucial organizational division/team include Labeling Supervisor, Labeling Compliance/Regulatory Affairs Manager, Supply Chain Supervisor, and Operations Manager (Labeling and Distribution).
These individuals’ (or teams’) goals and responsibilities are not just limited to keeping track and staying on top of global/regional compliance regulations and industry mandates. VDC’s recently conducted primary research on the topic indicates that they also lead or assist with some or all of the following functions – ensure labeling integrity across facilities; decide on label placement and regulatory content based on industry (or customer) stipulations; select, identify, and even purchase labeling solutions (hardware and software); and offer advice and support to cross-functional teams in operations and marketing on development of packaging solutions. In industries with stringent regulatory compliance guidelines – like food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices manufacturing – organizations expect candidates to have extensive knowledge of global labeling requirements, guidelines, and related procedures in order to ensure adherence to stringent standards.
Labeling is a means to effectively and efficiently track and trace movement of goods throughout the supply chain – right from sourcing through manufacturing, distribution, and even consumption. It also enables organizations to attain and maintain standards compliance established for quality, reporting, and overall safety while helping identify areas of improvement within the value chain for cost reduction, operational enhancements, and yield/productivity management. It is now becoming increasingly imperative for leading global organizations to centralize their labeling processes in order to achieve consistency and reliability across distributed operational setups – from the standpoint of mission-critical label generation software selection to determining hardware investments that will help facilitate the desired course of action.
For more information on the growing importance of Enterprise Labeling and labeling as a function, check out the Special Report developed by VDC Research and Loftware.