The Advantage

A Supply Chain Blog

Originally appeared on The Human Readable Blog, by TEKLYNX.

Partner Blog BY:   JENNA WAGNER / TEKLYNX

When labor shortages happen, but consumers continue to want their products quickly, companies are forced to focus their resources on the most critical areas of their business. While labeling is absolutely a critical business function, it doesn’t need to use up valuable person-hours. When your company faces labor shortages, here are seven key ways to make labeling less manual so your staff can focus on other value-added activities.

1. Design labels using wizards

When you need to design new labels or generate new barcodes, use helpful wizards to make the process quicker and easier. Built-in wizards walk you through each step of adding text, barcodes, or images, helping you to get it right the first time.

LABEL MATRIX barcode label design software includes a text object wizard, an image wizard, and a barcode wizard to assist in placing objects onto your label. It also includes a helpful wizard for adding printers.

LABELVIEW and CODESOFT offer new label wizards to help set up your label template, as well as text, image, and barcode wizards. You can even easily generate GS1 barcodes using the GS1 barcode wizard.

lt-in wizards in your label design software not only saves time for you and your users, it also ensures that your objects are created accurately and reduces the need for additional edits. All that time saved can be dedicated to different value-added activities.

2. Connect your database to your label template

Once you’ve created your label, you must create a way to get the proper data onto it. The most basic method of data input is a When Printed field. A When Printed field is simply a form that is presented at print time. The print user keys in the correct data and prints the label. Sounds simple, right?

In reality, relying on When Printed fields burdens your print users with extra work and leaves your labels vulnerable to manual errors. Extra work is precisely what you want to avoid when you’re understaffed! Luckily, there’s a better way.

Instead of forcing your print users to key in data at print time (and hoping they don’t make a mistake!), you can connect your label template to your business database. Whether your database is a spreadsheet such as ExcelExcel Online, or Google Sheets, or it’s a Microsoft Access database, or it’s part of your business system like Oracle or SAP, your labeling software can create a connection to that database.

Creating a database connection is easy, and there’s even a wizard for it in LABELVIEW and CODESOFT. Simply select your database, select your table, and choose the fields you want to use on your label. Then, click and drag those fields onto the label as text, barcodes, or images. You can then toggle through the records and watch the data change.

Use smart label templates with database connections

With database connections, your user can simply select the relevant database record at print time. This saves time for your print user, allowing them to get back to other value-added work. Even better, it reduces the risk for labeling errors that can cause expensive delays or rejected shipments.

3. Create a custom label print form

When manual data entry at print time is truly unavoidable, you can leverage custom label print forms to make data entry easy and accurate. In LABELVIEW and CODESOFT, label print forms can be completely customized to create your ideal label printing process.

Custom label print forms offer a wide variety of field options: text, incrementing numbers, sliders, date pickers, and more. You can also place data validation on the field, such as forcing a phone number to be in a specific format or only allowing a maximum of 10 characters.

In LABELVIEW and CODESOFT 2021, we’ve made it even easier to create a custom label print form. If you’ve been using the default print form for When Printed fields, you can easily convert the default print form to a custom print form, select the proper settings, and instantly gain efficiency. Watch the video to learn how:

Customized label printing forms turn manual data entry from a difficult, time-consuming task to a quick and low-effort way to get accurate print-time data onto your label.

4. Automatically gather data from a scale or scanner

If your labels need to contain print-time data such as a weight or value scanned from a barcode, CODESOFT’s advanced feature PortWatch can help your print users gather that data automatically.

PortWatch listens to a port for communication from a connected device, such as a scale, scanner, keyboard, or PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). When data is received, PortWatch automatically prints the label with the correct data. In most cases, your users don’t even have to click the Print button.

One CODESOFT customer uses PortWatch to print labels for their cheese product. Because each piece has a slightly different weight, they use PortWatch to gather the accurate weight and automatically print the label containing the weight and other data. As soon as one label is printed, PortWatch goes back to listening for the next value.

Automating data entry eliminates the need for print time users to manually key in data, saving time and reducing the risk for mistakes.

5. Automate printing out of your business system

So far, our tips to make labeling less manual have reduced the number of manual touchpoints for your print users. But what if we could completely eliminate manual touchpoints from your label printing process?

We often find that our customers have all the data needed for their labels within their business system. Whether it’s OracleSAP, or any other ERP or business system, our label print automation solution, SENTINEL, can monitor the system for a printing trigger. Here are some examples of common printing triggers:

  • Releasing a work order
  • Receiving a new sales order
  • Clicking “print” in your business system

Any of these actions can generate flat text file or a new or updated database record behind the scenes. SENTINEL monitors a watch folder or the database and triggers a label print job based on the database record.

SENTINEL relies on an exceptionally light integration with your business system, so no matter what your label printing trigger is, SENTINEL can accommodate it. Thanks to the light integration, upgrading your business system often has a minimal impact on your label printing process.

When you integrate your business system into your label printing process, you can fully eliminate manual touchpoints for your workers. This allows staff to focus fully on tasks necessary for your operations, other than label printing. Read our recent eBook to learn strategies for building the business case for implementing labeling integration with your ERP system.

6. Lighten your IT workload with centralized licensing

Our first five tips focused on improving the experience for the print users. The IT department deserves some help too! Managing a hodgepodge of label software licenses can cause wasted time, additional stress, and frustrating gaps in license availability.

We often hear that companies have a mix of label software brands, versions, and license types. An unstandardized labeling environment is a recipe for frustration. Some licenses may get upgraded while others are left behind. This can cause additional issues with label files that are not compatible with older versions. When you upgrade the operating system on your workstations, older software versions may not be supported.

To lighten the burden on your IT team, standardize and centralize your label software licenses. Follow these key steps:

  1. Get all your label printing workstations using the same brand and version of label software
  2. Consolidate multiple single-user licenses into an easy-to-manage network license deployed from a central server
  3. Synchronize your subscription licenses to renew on the same date

At TEKLYNX, we offer a wide variety of flexible licensing options. We’re here to help you find the right fit for your business and can assist with special situations such as pro-ration for subscription licenses. Just give us a call.

7. Take advantage of professional services

Sometimes, when you’re dealing with a labor shortage, you simply don’t have time for everything that needs to be done. When this is the case, lean on professional labeling experts to help.

Our professional services team assists with label creation, label file conversion, assisted installation, customized training, custom interface development, and consulting. Need help implementing the strategies in this blog post? With over 50 years of combined experience in labeling, we’re here to help make your labeling process better.

Using one or more of these strategies can add automation to your labeling process, make labeling less manual, and maximize your staff’s time for value-added activities. When your company is understaffed and facing a labor shortage, a less manual labeling process can make a big difference. Get in touch with TEKLYNX today to discuss implementing these strategies at your company.

 

###

Check out these additional Lowry Advantage Blog posts…

06
Oct

Lowry Solutions Featured on CRN’s 2021 Solution Provider 500 List

Brighton, MI, October 6, 2021 — Lowry Solutions, today announced that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Lowry Solutions to its 2021 Solution Provider 500 list.  CRN announces its top 500 solution providers list each year, ranking the leading IT channel partner organizations across North America by revenue.  This year’s impressive list...
Read More
01
Oct

INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION ISN’T A NEW CONCEPT, BUT ENGINEERS ARE NOW DESIGNING SYSTEMS WITH A NEW GENERATION OF USERS – AND BUSINESS CHALLENGES – IN MIND

Partner Blog by: Jim Witherspoon / Zebra MACHINE VISION AND FIXED INDUSTRIAL SCANNING SYSTEMS MUST BE SO SIMPLE TO USE THAT EVERY WORKER CAN OPERATE THEM, REGARDLESS OF TECH SAVVINESS. THEY MUST ALSO MAKE IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS. Some say Digital Natives are an “impatient generation,” but I think we’ve all...
Read More
15
Sep

Five Things to Consider When Using Tablet Computers in Forklift Applications

Partner Blog by: Barry J. Ewell / Honeywell Ruggedized Vehicle Mount Computers have been in enterprise industrial operations for many years. Many enterprises have been looking for innovative ways and use cases of whether it makes sense to include a tablet in their device portfolio landscape. One of those use cases involves being mounted to...
Read More
07
Sep

FIVE REASONS WHY RUGGED ENTERPRISE-GRADE TABLETS ARE DELIVERING A STRONGER RETURN ON INVESTMENT RIGHT NOW

Partner Blog by: Patrick Seidensticker / Zebra THOUGH IT MAY BE TEMPTING TO LET YOUR WORKERS USE CONSUMER-GRADE TABLETS, LAPTOPS OR 2-IN-1S IN THE FIELD, WAREHOUSE, STORE OR FACTORY, THERE IS MORE RISK THAN POTENTIAL REWARD IN DOING SO. THIS IS WHY. As consumer demand increases and the needs of today’s businesses change, enterprises are finding...
Read More
20
Aug

Lowry Solutions named Cool Place to Work for 2021 by Crain’s Detroit Business

Brighton, MI – August 20, 2021 – Lowry Solutions was recently named as one of the 100 Cool Places to Work in Michigan for 2021.  Lowry was awarded in the medium companies’ category for employers with 50 – 249 employees in Michigan. Best Companies Group of Harrisburg, Pa., produces the ranking of Cool Places to Work...
Read More
16
Aug

What Healthcare Solutions Does Lowry Offer?

Our healthcare solutions For the nation’s healthcare providers, cost control and accountability are more important than ever. Medical supplies and resources used in patient care must be accurately tracked and correctly billed. Medications, in particular, must be administered without error. Sophisticated and expensive medical systems must be maintained and available for optimum utilization. Patients themselves...
Read More
04
Aug

Honeywell Introduces Solutions to Help Healthcare Address Staff and Patient Safety Challenges

Partner Blog by: Barry J. Ewell / Honeywell No time in recent memory has been more stressful for healthcare worldwide than right now.  In today’s climate, healthcare workers on the frontline need to ensure that patient care is error-free. There have been unparallel surges for healthcare services such as diagnostic drive-thru testing facilities, specimen collection...
Read More
29
Jul

WAREHOUSE MATURITY MODEL PHASE 5: IT’S TIME TO BECOME MORE PROACTIVE WITH PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS

Partner Blog by: Mark Wheeler / Zebra THROUGH THE MORE FOCUSED UTILIZATION OF INTELLIGENCE TOOLS, YOU CAN CREATE A “CRYSTAL BALL” THAT HELPS YOU PREDICT WHAT MAY BE COMING BASED ON CURRENT TRENDS AND ADAPT OPERATIONS IN AN OPPORTUNISTIC MANNER. When a disruptive force sweeps the supply chain, you have no choice but to react. Yet,...
Read More
14
Jul

ENTERPRISE LABELING SOFTWARE, PART 3: HOW TO STREAMLINE MULTI-LOCATION LABEL PRINTING

Originally appeared on The Human Readable Blog, by TEKLYNX. Partner Blog BY:   JENNA WAGNER / TEKLYNX If your company has multiple locations, you may face the challenge of having inconsistent labels across your organization. Are your labels the same format? Are all your locations leveraging label files that pull data from the correct data source? Are...
Read More
29
Jun

6 Ways to Improve Warehouse Operations with Voice Technology

Partner Blog by: Barry J. Ewell / Honeywell Like a Swiss Army knife sporting multiple tools in a single package, optimizing warehouse operations by deploying voice technology improves warehouse processes and procedures in six different ways. That’s because voice-guided workflows free up mobile workers’ hands and eyes, allowing them to do their jobs safely and accurately in...
Read More