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Printing labels is one of the least talked about aspects of running a warehouse. A small printing error may not seem like that big of a deal, especially when you have so many orders coming and going out of your facility, but the wrong label or a missing piece of information can lead to all sorts of headaches and costly delays. The item may get returned to your facility if the shipping label contains an error which can lead to additional costs and aggravated customers. Retailers may be unable to sell the item if the label is incorrect, taking a bite out of your bottom line. When it comes to manufacturing food, beverages, automobiles and safety equipment, your business could incur large fines for misleading consumers.
Don’t underestimate the cost of mislabeling. Use these tips to prevent printing errors and everyday mistakes that could cost you down the line.
Ship in Bulk
One of the easiest ways to reduce printing errors is to ship fewer packages. This usually applies to wholesalers, suppliers and companies that tend to ship to the same customers on a regular basis. Instead of packaging dozens of smaller containers together, store your goods in a collapsible bulk container. This way, your team will only have to print off one label before sending the container out for delivery. Shipping in bulk also accelerates the loading/unloading process. Your team can move all your inventory with a lift truck instead of bending over and picking up packages by hand.
Wire baskets are perfect for shipping large quantities of consumer goods. With the wire frame, your workers will be able to see inside the container as they print off the label, so they can easily double-check the information in real-time. Buy cheap wire baskets in bulk to streamline this process.
Mobile, On-Demand Printing
If shipping in bulk isn’t realistic, consider moving the printer to the loading dock or package fulfillment area. Warehouse employees are used to being mobile these days, so they can move around the space freely without getting tied down to a particular tool or piece of equipment. That’s why many workers will carry digital scanners, radios and tablets on their person.
You can apply the same approach to your printer. Mobile, on-demand printing reduces the number of errors by keeping your employees close to the action. If the printer is located on the other side of the facility, the worker can easily lose track of what they’re doing. If labels start to pile up in the printer tray, they could grab the wrong label by mistake.
Wasting a label usually isn’t the end of the world. Heads start to roll when the wrong label makes it onto the package. Mobile printing helps your team catch these errors right away before they attach the label to the container in question. If the wrong information comes out, the person can toss the wrong label in the trash, instead of dealing with it later.
This is what’s known as a reconfigurable manufacturing system–keeping important parts and equipment mobile for maximum efficiency. Learn more about reconfigurable manufacturing systems and how they can benefit your business.
Invest in Automation
Humans are known for their mistakes. That’s just a part of life. Machines tend to be much more precise, at least when it comes to mundane tasks like sticking labels on packages. Automating the labeling process will help you reduce the number of errors in your workplace. The machine will automatically print off the label based on the information in the system. It will then attach labels to packages, much like an assembly line.
If you don’t have the means to install a robot, look for ways to reduce redundancies in your warehouse management system. If the employee must re-enter the customer’s information, they are doing something wrong. This information should not change once it goes into the system. Make sure the system that collects order information is connected to the system that produces your shipping labels.
Learn more about the benefits of using an automated warehouse system.
Labeling errors can be avoided if you have the right equipment. Work with your employees to find the right solution to this everyday problem.