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25 Jan 2023 | 13:00

Four labelling and supply chain challenges to get ahead of in 2023


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As a business owner just one of the many hats that you wear, and one of the tables you’ll find yourself sat at, is the one surrounding compliance. At the Barcode Warehouse we understand, in great detail, how complicated labelling systems can lead to inefficiencies, unnecessary costs, and even issues with labelling compliance. No matter what niche you operate within, understanding the unique barcode and labelling challenges that your industry may face, particularly when it comes to meeting global compliance regulations. 

In order to maintain the standards of supply chain traceability, transparency and efficiency required to keep a successful business, having the right technology in place is crucial. Using a complicated labelling system can impact everything from your bottom line to brand perception, and even scalability. These inefficiencies can result in costly product recalls, chargebacks and penalties. In fact, consulting firm Deloitte estimates that in the US, product recalls cost companies an average of 10 million dollars per incident, and around 80% of small to mid-sized businesses fail within three years of a product recall which can be attributed to loss of sales, decline in reputation and brand value. 

To avoid these costly challenges, it is important to understand how an effective labelling deployment plan can meet these challenges and help increase supply chain visibility. By implementing a compliant, effective labelling solution, organisations can overcome common labelling challenges and avoid unnecessary costs.

Today, we discuss four of the challenges that we see the supply chain facing in 2023 and beyond, and offer actionable solutions to help you have your most successful year yet!

Short on time? Download our free guide '7 labelling challenges facing the supply chain', sponsored by BarTender, direct to your inbox for later. Learn about three more challenges you might face in 2023, and get solutions from the experts.  

Labelling challenges being faced by the supply chain

As a small business owner, you need to be aware of the challenges surrounding labelling that the supply chain is currently facing in 2023. These include:

  1. Evolving labelling regulations and standards

  2. Labelling and barcode errors and issues

  3. Supporting multiple languages

  4. Fragmented labelling processes

Let’s dive deeper into these points and explore the challenge, and the solution. 

Labelling regulations and standards change with lightning-fast speed and can be hard to keep up with

Labelling regulations and standards have undergone significant changes over the past decade. One of the main changes has been an increased focus on sustainability and environmental impact. Governments and international organisations have introduced regulations and standards aimed at reducing the environmental impact of products, such as the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. These regulations and standards require manufacturers to provide information on the environmental impact of their products, such as the use of certain chemicals and energy efficiency.

Another major change in labelling regulations and standards has been the introduction of new labelling requirements for food products. For example, in the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented new regulations on food labelling, including requirements for nutrition information and allergen labelling.

 These changes in labelling regulations and standards have had a significant impact on the supply chain. Manufacturers must now ensure that their products are in compliance with these regulations and standards, which can be time-consuming and costly. Additionally, supply chain partners, such as retailers and distributors, must also be aware of these regulations and standards and ensure that their products are in compliance.

How can you solve this problem? 

To address these challenges, small business owners need to stay informed about changes in labelling regulations and standards, and implement systems for ensuring compliance. This may include working with suppliers to ensure that products are in compliance, or investing in technology to automate the compliance process. Small business owners should also consider partnering with regulatory compliance experts to ensure that they are in compliance with these regulations and standards.

Labelling and barcode errors can disrupt everything from the supply chain to the end user

Labelling and barcode issues don’t just impact the end user, but the entire supply chain. Not only do errors disrupt the flow of accurate information to each stakeholder, but they can also lead to incredibly costly product recalls and supply chain inefficiencies. To avoid these challenges, it’s crucial that you implement a comprehensive labelling solution that enhances accuracy, reliability and security. 

So, what issues and errors can arise during the labelling and distribution process? 

  • Incorrect data

  •  Misaligned barcodes 

  • Colour and contrast issues

  • Poor print quality

  • Disruptions to barcodes

We cannot stress enough that product recalls can be extremely costly for enterprise organisations, with medical device companies potentially spending up to $600 million in recall costs.

How can you solve this problem?

A comprehensive labelling solution can integrate with other systems such as warehouse management systems (WMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other supply chain management (SCM) processes. By sourcing data from these other systems, it can help avoid duplication, streamline the process of label creation, and ensure traceability in the event of a product recall. Implementing a comprehensive labelling solution can help you avoid costly recalls and enhance efficiency throughout your supply chain.

Failure to select a robust international labelling solution can cost time, money, and your reputation 

If you are a global organisation that operates in multiple countries, you’ll face the additional challenge of having to localise your labels to meet the unique requirements of different geographic regions and languages. This becomes even more important if your business is looking to expand into a new market in the future. 

Products such as food and medical devices often need to comply with language requirements and country-specific labelling regulations when transported and sold across multiple countries. Without adequate translation support on labels, businesses may risk costly recalls and loss of brand credibility. 

Internationalising a labelling solution refers to the process of adapting labels to meet the specific requirements of different geographic regions and languages. So how can you solve this challenge? 

How can you solve this problem?

To ensure the safety of end-users, businesses should consider using labelling software that has the capability to create accurate labels in all the languages required. 

Automated translation and support for modern writing systems can replace manual processes that can be both costly and time-consuming. This software should also have features such as auto-translation and support for modern writing systems. By implementing this type of software, businesses can guarantee compliance, safety and avoid costly errors.

You should also take the time to research and understand the local regulations and requirements for labelling in each geographic region and country where your business operates or plans to expand. This includes language requirements, labelling standards, and other specific regulations.

Finally, regularly reviewing and updating your labels to ensure compliance with local regulations and requirements is something that you should schedule as frequently as needed for your industry. 

A fragmented and confusing labelling process leads to increased costs and inefficiencies

A fragmented labelling process refers to a situation where there is no centralised or consistent approach to creating, managing, and distributing labels within your organisation. The labelling process itself is a highly intricate one that involves multiple stakeholders from across the business. It’s also a process that encounters ongoing changes in regulations, scaling or downsizing, mergers, economic fluctuations, market expansion, new products and rebranding.

This often results in multiple departments or teams creating labels independently, using different methods and software, and with little oversight or coordination. This can lead to a number of issues such as inconsistencies in label design and data, difficulty in tracking and managing label versions, and difficulty in meeting compliance requirements. A fragmented labelling process can also make it difficult for your business to scale and adapt to new markets, regulations, and technologies.

Using a medical device company as an example. They are looking to enter a new market in another country. As a result of this exciting expansion, the company will encounter global labelling challenges as they work to meet the demands of localisation and regulations for that specific location across their supply chain. Without proper visibility and a transparent process, the opportunity for errors and miscommunications is much higher as is the risk of needing to relabel or recall. 

How can you solve this problem? 

There are a few ways that you can solve a fragmented labelling process by implementing a centralised and standardised approach to label creation, management and distribution. Here are a few ways to achieve this:

  1. Establish a central label management system: Implement a software solution like BarTender that can be used by all teams and departments to create, manage and distribute labels. This can be cloud-based or on-premise software that allows for centralised control and oversight of label data and design.

  2. Develop clear labelling standards and guidelines: Establish guidelines and standards for label design, data, and formatting that all teams and departments must follow. This can help ensure consistency in label appearance and data, and make it easier to track and manage label versions.

  3. Provide training and support: Ensure that all teams and departments have the necessary training and support to effectively use the label management system and adhere to established guidelines and standards.

  4. Integration with other systems: Integrate the label management system with other systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and warehouse management systems (WMS) to streamline the process of label creation and improve traceability in the event of a product recall.

  5. Regular review and improvement: Regularly review and assess the label management process to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement.

By following these steps, you can create a more efficient and compliant labelling process.

In summary, the key labelling challenges facing the supply chain 

In summary, the key labelling challenges facing the supply chain in 2023 and beyond include, but are not limited to: 
  • With new regulations and standards being introduced, it can be difficult to stay up to date and ensure that your products are in compliance. Solution: Stay informed about any changes in labelling regulations and standards by regularly checking industry websites and subscribing to relevant newsletters.

  • Printing and labelling errors disrupt the flow of accurate information and lead to incredibly costly product recalls and supply chain inefficiencies. Solution: Choose a comprehensive labelling solution that works across all facets of your business. 

  • When shipping products internationally, it's important to ensure that the labelling is in the appropriate language. Solution: Consider using a translation service to ensure that your labelling is accurate and in the appropriate language for the destination country.

By addressing these challenges, you can ensure that your products are properly labelled and that your supply chain runs smoothly.

Looking for more? Download our free guide '7 labelling challenges facing the supply chain', sponsored by BarTender, direct to your inbox for later. Learn about three more challenges you might face in 2023, and get solutions from the experts.


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