Written by Olivier Evain, EMEA Regional Category Manager, Printronix
While it’s a driving force for economic growth and recruitment, the manufacturing industry is currently facing strong international competition from emerging countries that are offering high-quality goods for lower prices. In order to stand out from the crowd in today’s ever-restrictive economic climate, manufacturers are now faced with a new challenge – maintaining a delicate balance between reducing costs while sharpening their competitive edge. So, although it may not be the most glamorous aspect of the industry, the logistics and distribution of products are key areas where manufacturers can easily improve and optimise their operations, as well as save money.
For example, with the advent of online shopping, consumer demand for goods has grown and manufacturers can use line matrix printing technology to help keep track of orders and ensure the smooth running of the supply chain. Line matrix barcode printers can produce error-free, high-volume and fully traceable labels that will help manufacturers avoid unnecessary costs relating to lost packages or dissatisfied customers. With a host of additional benefits that comes with the technology, line matrix technology can offer value-added features that will positively impact the bottom line.
When it comes to manufacturing, if goods cannot be produced and shipped promptly, you run the risk of losing customers to competitors. This is true for both B2B and B2C companies. Every second counts in the supply chain, with no room for costly mistakes or down time. Considering the rapid pace at which companies now operate and the sheer volume of trade they conduct, the labelling and identification of products is key to keeping track of orders.
Manufacturers can now deploy a wide range of line matrix printers in their factories that can be tailored to suit their needs, regardless of the work environment or sector. Proven to excel in time-sensitive and mission-critical scenarios, line matrix printers can deliver the high-volume of labels needed to match orders without latency or error. Manufacturers can also take advantage of compatible, time-saving IT tools that allow their supply chain workers to remotely manage their worldwide print operations, with minimal effort and resourcing, freeing them up to focus on other areas of the business. However for some customers, speed is not their primary concern.
Many manufacturers now need to take into consideration new variables, such as the growing demand for increased trackability within the supply chain. As consumers become increasingly influential in the sourcing and manufacturing of the products they buy, the industry faces a harsh reality. While speed of delivery is still important, now consumers want to have total visibility of the supply chain, from creation of the product, through to transportation and delivery. For example, if customers don’t receive their much-anticipated packages on the delivery day they were given, they will expect answers as to why the goods didn’t show up, where they are now and when they can expect them.
For players in the manufacturing sector, the difficulty lies in having a real-time view of goods in transit as well as stock levels back at the depot, which can be hard to follow due to supply and demand fluctuations. As such, it is essential for manufacturers and logistics professionals to monitor goods from all points in the supply chain by collecting data and sharing it with all the necessary stakeholders. When used in conjunction with line matrix barcode labels, online data validation (ODV) technology can eliminate the risk of bulk shipments of products being incorrectly labelled or transported to the wrong destination. RFID technology is also becoming more widely deployed in the manufacturing industry, and is capable of meeting the various demands of coordination, trackability, visibility, productivity and profitability made by the global market. By deploying RFID, goods can be tracked within the entire logistics chain, regardless of location or sector, as RFID offers a higher level of traceability and information exchange. Providing complete control of the logistics chain, the benefits are vast: automation of inbound and outbound deliveries, simplification of inventories or product recalls, optimisation of controls management of waste and, most importantly, significant cost reduction.
With performance and durability that is unmatched, line matrix printing offers substantial and compelling reasons for manufacturers to consider the benefits that the technology offers. Whether it’s for the automotive, grocery or FMCG sectors, manufacturers stand to gain significant strategic advantages linked to cost, performance and efficiency through the application of line matrix printing, without sacrificing productivity. The ease of integration into current work flow environments ensures that barcode printing can continue in an efficient, prompt and time-sensitive manner, without any negative impact to the supply chain. Not only does line matrix printing technology offer impressive TCO and ROI – with some businesses experiencing savings of £18,500 over five years and a 30 percent reduction in consumable cost per page – it offers one of the most cutting-edge, eco-friendly solutions within the market.