The Importance of Labeling Solutions In A Warehouse
Efficient inventory management is everything when it comes to running warehouse operations. Depending on the size and location of your warehouse, you may be dealing with thousands of packages moving through on a daily basis, going into and out of multiple points.
A warehouse labeling system can help you keep track of all these containers as they move through each point of your operation (this includes labeling for your containers as well as identification labels for your aisles, warehouse racks and bins). Organized systems not only help workers locate products, but they also create a trail of logs that allow for fast identification and the correction of errors in your supply chain.
Navigation & Inventory Location
If you’ve ever used an app to navigate a home improvement or big box store, you know how much time and frustration it can save. Instead of having to look through several aisles trying to find one small item, you can instead get the aisle and bin number for the product straight from your phone.
But, keep in mind that the largest store you’d likely encounter is around 180,000 square feet, which pales in comparison to warehouse operations, which can stretch over millions of square feet across several buildings. With warehousing, it isn’t just hard to find an item, it’s easy to get lost!
However, by simply integrating proper labeling into your warehouse inventory management system, employees can get the same type of warehouse location information that visitors obtain from big box store apps (allowing them to quickly go to the building, aisle and shelving rack location that holds the item they’re looking for).
Warehouse labeling is helpful outside of packaging, too. Floor and rack labels work just like the aisle labels at your local grocery store. At a glance, workers can see exactly where they’re at, so they can go directly to the product.
Warehouse Inventory Tracking
Labels also add another layer of error prevention. As a container moves through your system, both its label and the location bar code label can be scanned and logged. This way, you know exactly where the item is from intake to delivery. Product labeling tracks items directly, while bin labeling helps keep track of bulk storage items.
Warehouse labeling is also a cost-effective time saver when your facility is audited. Retro-reflective labels can be read from up to 45 feet away, making it possible to check stacks of pallets from the floor and easy to perform occasional inventory checks. In fact, a study by Datalogic found that warehouses that switched to a barcode-driven warehouse management system saved an average of $75,000 per year on inventory errors.
Warehouse labeling can help you manage logistics, even before products reach your facility:
- Adding labeling capabilities to manufacturing or alternate storage facilities gives the system a point of reference as the container moves through your system.
- Label printing and application automation for shipping and bills of lading remove additional sources of error from the logistics process.
- Logging containers as they move through your system makes real-time tracking possible. Since you always have the correct inventory in your system, customers can’t order items that are out of stock.
This flow of information also helps with logistics management. (You can see which items are slow-moving or stagnant, and which items are chronically understocked.) It also helps you identify unused spaces in your warehouse layout that can be utilized for products. This helps you adjust product orders and use your available space more effectively.
Labeling as a Value-Adding Process
Your facility is more than a rest stop in the supply chain for inventory. It’s likely a place to shift modes of transportation, package goods together, or prepare goods for sale at retail partners. This is especially true of third-party logistics providers (3PLs), whose function is managing logistics and warehousing for other companies. By adding a product labeling system to your facility, you can do more onsite:
- Label packages to meet requirements for international sale
- Add price tags and other information specific to retail customers
- Create and label new packaging for collections built from bulk shipments (i.e. putting together a retail package for electronics that includes manuals, chargers and accessories shipped to the warehouse)
- Package multiple items for shipment, including direct-to-customer sales
Readability for Everyone and Everything
Even as warehouses and distribution centers employ more automation, warehouse labels remain an important part of package location and tracking. And, while automated forklifts and pick-and-place machines are less prone to error, they still use barcoding the same way people use text signs and labels. This includes verifying their position in the warehouse as well as identifying the packages and pallets they’re picking up.
Having both barcodes and text on product labeling makes the package or warehouse location readable to both scanners and people, and the redundancy also keeps the item identifiable if part of the label is damaged.
Create Your Own Labeling
While you may choose to have an outside company print signage, floor labels or magnetic labels, most warehouse environment product labeling can be done onsite.
Label applicators make it easy to change rack labeling and bin labeling to fit current inventory or to label containers as they pass through the facility.
Looking for a solution for your warehouse labeling system? The 3600a-PA Series corner wrap printer applicator can apply labels around box sides, delivering increased coverage that makes it possible to read box labels in multiple orientations. Of course, though, not everything is going to be stored in boxes. Fortunately, we have label applicators for odd-shaped containers, too. (For example, our pail labeler can print and apply labels to industrial pails, making them easy to catalog and locate.)
If you’re looking for a workhorse print and apply option, then consider our 3600a-PA Series Printer Applicator or the 3600a-PA Series Dual Action Tamp (DAT) Printer Applicator. The 3600-a-PA Series is a straight tamp print and apply and the 3600a-PA DAT has the capability to print and apply two labels on adjacent sides of a single product like a box or case (ideal for labeling packages as they enter your warehouse or for adding shipping labels as they leave).
We Can Help Simplify Your Warehouse Inventory Management
CTM Labeling Systems prides itself on going beyond simply providing clients with labeling solutions. We want to be the trusted industry resource, and our local distributors are ready to help design a warehouse labeling system that can help you manage the containers moving through your unique environment.