Inefficiencies in barcode label printing can decrease a company’s throughput, resulting in customer dissatisfaction, delays, missed deadlines, fines and ultimately a significant impact to overall business performance. Today, companies must be able to easily scale and handle high volumes of label throughput accurately, and without fail. To efficiently meet these expanding business requirements, it is essential to optimize speed and network efficiency to print labels quickly and efficiently, independent of printer make and model. Implementing an Enterprise Labeling Solution with high volume global printing capabilities allows companies to optimize their investment in printers, maximize print performance and scale globally.
What challenges do companies encounter when trying to address requirements for high volume global printing?
There are a host of things you need to consider when addressing high volume global printing, ranging from network throughput and latency, to print speeds, to issues with label and device management, as well as security. When businesses aren’t able to print labels at a predetermined or expected speeds, this can mean a disruption and even a stop in production. It also could result in significant downtime, which can cost companies millions and impact customer satisfaction. Also, when faced with printing performance issues and slow production times, companies may need to arrange for more capacity by having multiple different lines for print requests. This undoubtedly increases maintenance and cost for the company.
There are also issues with label management and having to manage a wide range of label templates, as well as device management since there are so many different types of devices involved in label printing today. And, then there is integrating the company’s data into the printing process, since that data may not be located in the same place as the printers. Another important challenge is security. When you’re dealing with access to data, companies need to think about prevent unauthorized access to data to limit the possibility of making mistakes resulting in mislabeling.
What capabilities facilitate high volume global printing?
The primary one is the ability for LAN based networks to have performance that is similar to that of a WAN based network. What that means is that you can look at a printer that’s in Japan from a system in the United States and treat that printer as though it were right next to you. The infrastructure has to support that at the company site, but the labeling solution you use also has to support that concept. It can’t look at that printer and say that’s some Windows printer on the other side of the world. It has to look like it’s right next to you.
Also, browser-based capabilities facilitate global scaling and high volume global printing. With browser-based labeling solutions you don’t need to install any client software to be able to use the system. You simply bring your browser up and you’re off and running. Also, standardization and the sophisticated integration capabilities today make a single source of truth more accessible to labeling solutions facilitating printing on a global scale.
Network technology is also important. The technology, which offers access on a global level, has developed substantially over the past ten years and continues to evolve. The concept of high-speed VPNs fifteen years ago looked like magic, but today they are commonplace. The idea that today you could have an office in Germany that could simply pull a large file off a drive in the United States in a couple of seconds is amazing. To continue to embrace these technologies and to keep pace with demands of global organizations, companies need to consider an Enterprise Labeling approach to address expanding business requirements for high volume global printing.
How can an enterprise labeling solution enable companies to meet high-volume label printing requirements?
I think the functionality of an Enterprise Labeling Solution offers a variety of benefits for high volume printing. First, there’s the performance side of it. The solution has got to be fast and it needs to be delivering as little data as possible to get the label printed. Also, it has to be scalable, not just in terms of the number of labels that are being printed but also the number of printers being used. Using an Enterprise Labeling Solution, which offers access to native printer drivers, reduces print streams to minimize network traffic, optimizes print performance and limits maintenance to meet these high volume requirements.
When you can reduce the size of print streams you’re able to dramatically increase print speed. It’s especially important for remote sites where you want to provide the smallest possible print stream or amount of data to these sites as possible. If you can do this, you can save substantial time and money with your label printing. The key here is to simplify the printing process with fewer moving parts in your labeling solution and enable companies to manage and support a broad set of printers across locations. This ultimately reduces maintenance and management of the printer network, increasing control and ensuring consistency. It also makes it easier to scale your labeling solution as demand increases, which can result in significant cost savings.
Enterprise Labeling Solutions utilize modern, multi-tier architectures to offer a standardized and centralized way of managing labels throughout a global supply chain. Companies are able to access data from their systems of record or their sources of truth, and have that data available at the right spot so that label printing can be done efficiently with the correct data. When a company adds a new location, a division, or even does an acquisition, the increased labeling can be managed centrally, reducing maintenance and limiting the need for additional resources throughout multiple regions, creating substantial savings for the company. Also, the approach allows controls over the quality of what’s being printed which is especially critical in a validated environment. From a global standpoint an Enterprise Labeling Solution lets you manage what you’re doing from one location and still print anywhere.
Interview with: Mark Wick, Vice President Software Development, Loftware
Mr. Wick has over 25 years experience in the architecting and delivering world-class supply chain, enterprise application integration, and enterprise labeling software. He led the development of the labeling industry’s first browser-based, all-in-one Enterprise Labeling Solution, Loftware Spectrum®. Mr. Wick is an expert in labeling technologies and holds a BS in computer science from MIT.