The importance of labeling your products
Labeling is one of the most important aspects of warehouse management. A warehouse provides a central location for receiving, storing and distributing products. As each shipment arrives, responsibility for the goods transfers to warehouse personnel and products need to be identified. Then, they have to be sorted and dispatched to their temporary storage location.
Storage isn’t static, but rather a process that includes security and safety measures as well as maintaining an environment that preserves the integrity and usefulness of the items. Once it’s time to move the products back out of the warehouse, each order is retrieved, grouped, packaged and checked for completeness before being dispatched to the customer.
Now you can see why labeling is so important in warehouses or warehousing departments. Almost every component of warehouse operations involves some sort of identification process.
Warehouses not only need to identify the products they are storing, they also need to clearly mark the storage areas and any rules or regulations that need to be adhered to in the warehouse to maintain a safe work environment.
What do I need?
Well, first of all, you’ll need a printer. We would honestly recommend a portable printer and not one that has to be permanently connected to a computer. Cartridge-based portable label printers use many types of supplies including removable adhesive labels, super strong adhesives or even magnet tape.
Barcoding contributes to the accuracy of tracking inventory by eliminating writing or transcription errors. With the proper software and a barcode label printer, all pertinent information for each product can be easily added to the package including where in the warehouse an item is stored.
We would also recommend RFID labels
In addition to barcodes, RFID labels can also be applied to products for the purpose of identification. RFID labels contain your custom inventory information on a chip that is easily read by a programed RFID collection device. This RFID label could be created at the manufacturing level or at your warehouse. As a value added service, RFID tags containing your customers requested information could be printed in the warehouse and applied to the item prior to shipping.
With product labels, efficient retrieval of goods is straightforward. Simply follow your pick slip (part number, description and location), pick the item(s), group the goods, review for completeness and ship. Of course you will review batch numbers, pick older stock first and attach GHD (if required) labels and related paperwork.
Before you start labelling your actual items, you need to label the location where each item will be stored.
Storage needs to be contained within sections, rows and shelf numbers. If your storage area is very large, we would recommend assigning zone numbers or even room numbers if needed (which should be included in the final labelling).
We would also highly recommend creating a map of the warehouse(s). Map out exactly where each item is, with its label code and location. For larger warehouses this can be a massive time-saver and is a neat way of making appropriate use of your new labelled system. It also helps employees work more effectively and efficiently.
Also ensure that your location labels are all different to avoid confusion and keep labels consistent. Colours and images are other neat ways to keep things organised too.
Additional Product Shipping Details
Sometimes products are not all packed in one box and multiple boxes may be required to complete one product. This can be hard to track for the person trying to fill an order. As a result, sometimes additional details are required outside of the normal product identification label. An example of this would be when a product needs to be shipped with additional parts, such as a wall charger, or maybe some gaskets or washers. The label may read ‘This part is a component of an assembly, ship together with Product X’. By labeling packages with this information, extra steps in the shipping or buying process are less likely to be missed.
Quick Tips for Labeling Your Warehouse
Properly organizing your warehouse depends heavily on the labels you choose, but how you label your warehouse is just as important. Here are a few tips on how to properly label your products, areas, etc:
- First of all, make sure your labels are durable and secured in place.
- The writing or barcodes on labels should be large enough to see from a reasonable distance and should be in a font that is easy to read.
- Choosing colors like black on yellow or white on red are great options for making sure the labels are easily identified from other unrelated labels in the warehouse. You can also use different color schemes for easy identification of the purpose of each label type.
- They should be placed in a position that would keep normal warehouse activity from easily ripping or damaging them
- Labels have to be easy to change or create using an office printer or a portable label maker.
To sum up
Taking the time to change and improve your warehouse inventory management and organization will make life easier for you and your employees. Provide your employees with all the necessary tools and guide them on how to properly label each and every product.
You’ll have to keep in mind that failing to do so can and will cause issues, such as products sent out incorrectly. It can also cause difficulties in finding the product(s) around your warehouse. As such, make sure to take the time to make these improvements.