Friday, July 22, 2016

Can Switching Shipping Labels Really Help Reduce Mistakes?

The answer is YES! Switching labels can absolutely help eliminate costly mistakes.  There are varying degrees to how much a change can help depending on your current fulfillment center’s operations; however, if you have discovered a specific issue, you need ways to fix it and become efficient again.
Packing List and Shipping Label Combo

If mistakes are being caused by the wrong packing slip being inserted into the wrong package, there are several products out there that can help eliminate this issue. Integrated labels, full label cut sheets, and other similar combinations where the shipping label and packing list are both printed on the same form, at the same time, could help with this problem.  These label form products work well as long as you drop the packing list in the box immediately after applying the shipping label.  This will avoid accidentally dropping the wrong packing slip into the wrong box further down the line. 

However, if your process is a bit different and your box may be in several areas, or very large, another great product is the fold under label option.  The unique feature on these labels is not only do you print the shipping and packing slip information on the same form, but they never get separated…at least not until the customer has their package in their hands. Meaning when you peel-off the label, you fold under the packing slip, and affix the entire thing to the box. No mismatching!

Regardless of the option you choose, all of the options mentioned eliminate that sometimes dreaded “invoice enclosed” pouch, where you have to take the time to fold the packing list, put it in the pouch, seal it, peel off the backing, and affix to the carton. Not only does this increase your chance of errors, but it can kill productivity in a growing business. Try it for a month…a week…even a couple of days. You will be surprised at how much you can achieve, and even learn, by trying something new in your distribution center.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Shipping Labels That Make You Say HMMMMM…

When you think of shipping labels, many immediately think of the white 4” x 6” labels on a roll that go through a printer and you slap on a box. We have come a very long way, and the development of creative designs to solve unique problems is the fun part of the printing world. Don’t get me wrong, the simple labels play an extremely important role in shipping, but different is great too.
One of my very favorite shipping labels is the fold-under label. This design solved a very interesting set of issues: 

Fold Under Label - Printingworx1.       How can we print a shipping label and packing list in one pass to avoid mismatching mistakes?
2.       How can we save on toner? Or maybe even print heads?
3.       How can we include an invoice to a closed shipping carton without using a plastic “invoice enclosed” pouch to insert it in?

The fold-under label is one big label that had adhesive free areas.  You basically can print both the invoice/packing list and shipping label on one form eliminating costly mismatching mistakes.  Once printed, you can peel off the back label liner, fold the invoice/packing list information under, and affix the label to the box.  When the customer receives their package, they simply follow the pre-printed instructions on the label to tear off the “zip-strip” and they have their packing list in their hands. No more costly “Packing-List Enclosed” pouches.  For productivity, this means a person will not have to fold, insert, seal and affix a separate pocket to the carton and risk it falling off.

Fold-under labels are typically produced on direct thermal material, which obviously means they run through a direct thermal printer.  How does this benefit distribution centers? No toner and print heads which could potentially save them a ton of money.

It is a little mind-blowing that one shipping label can impact an FC so much.  It isn’t an option for everyone, but it is definitely worth a look !

Friday, July 8, 2016

Is Your FC Ready For The 2016 Holiday Season?

Yes…as crazy as it sounds, it is that time again already; time to begin the process of preparing for the
mad rush of orders that tend to flood in during the holidays.  And I know what you are thinking:

Distribution and shipping labels

·         What are my productivity goals?
·         Do I have enough staff?
·         Is my equipment running efficiently and ready to take on the extra load?
·         What are my contingency plans should something go wrong?
·         Do I have enough supplies?

All of these questions are very important to answer; however, out of all of them, there is one that has the potential to bring an entire distribution center to a screeching halt and IS preventable. The last question about having enough supplies is one that, if miscalculated, could cost an FC hundreds or thousands of dollars per every minute their lines are not moving.  Shipping labels, barcode labels, any other process specific distribution labels, boxes, and other consumables are absolutely a necessity to ship out products.  Lose any one of these and you will be in panic mode.

So how do you prepare and know how much you may need?  What happens if you do run out? Those two questions have a loaded answer and they both revolve around research. A distribution center needs to look at historical shipment data and combine that with projected growth percentages to get a baseline approximation of what they will need to stay afloat during the holidays. That is a very simplified way to estimate; however, it is a starting point.  Once you know those numbers, you need to take a hard look at your suppliers and make sure they can keep up with your demand, be able to provide supplies at lightning speed if needed, and do both while maintaining quality and competitive process. 

Printingworx® can do all of these and more! We are a leading expert in providing quality label printing at great prices and we understand the dynamic of distribution centers.  Not just that, we have warehouses and plant locations throughout the United States to make sure if you need labels in a pinch; we can be there!