Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Automated Supply Chains: Don't Let Labeling Become the Weak Link

19-Oct-2018
Automated Supply Chains: Don't Let Labeling Become the Weak Link
Automation in the supply chain has spent the past few years delivering capabilities that would have been described as science fiction no more than a few years ago. Systems have become more efficient and streamlined, allowing human employees to focus on strategic matters while robotic warehouses pick and pack orders at previously impossible speeds.

There are potential roadblocks standing in the way of supply chain upgrades, however. Heavily automated environments are built out of many systems working together, and missing pieces could compromise efficiency gains. Systems such as labeling, which leaders may overlook in their desire to automate quickly, could end up determining whether the process changes succeed or fail.

How Far Has Automation Come?
Improved automated processes can empower all levels of the supply chain. Eye For Transport recently described the present state of the industry as an "arms race" between various organizations trying to become fast enough to compete in an e-commerce economy.

With robotic process automation adding artificial intelligence features which will help processes adapt to changing conditions rather than being invariable, supply chains can be flexible as well as efficient.

Eye For Transport noted that actions such as picking and packing goods are now being handled through automated systems. This is a major change to historical norms, and one that companies will be able to build upon as they look for ways to shorten the distance from manufacturing goods to shipping them to customers.

What's Next for the Supply Chain?
Contributing to Supply Chain Digital, DHL Supply Chain Chief Consumer Officer Mark Parsons stated that robotics systems will go beyond companies' decision-making engines. Large-scale robots moving goods around warehouses and transportation hubs are becoming popular choices for organizations that want to work at a speed or scale impossible without robotic intervention.

Where Does Labeling Fit In?
The promise of a heavily automated future is rapidly becoming reality. There are a few potential weak links, however, that can stop companies' upgrades from coming to fruition. Today's robots and automated systems interact with goods through labels, using barcodes or radio-frequency identification tags to determine items' identity and location. Inaccuracies or slowdowns in labeling could, therefore, neutralize the value of an automated supply chain.

The solution to this potential dilemma involves taking labeling as seriously as the other elements of a modernized supply chain. Centralized labeling systems that draw their data from central sources of truth such as enterprise resource planning software can improve the accuracy and effectiveness of labeling in warehouse settings, giving automated systems something to work with.

Stephen Cameron
Business Development Director, SWRnewstar
Primark's move to 100 per cent sustainably sourced cotton should be commended
Marc Corriveau
Account Manager, Loftware
Changes in packaging result in ROI for F&B products
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
Why an extension is best for British businesses
David Jinks MILT
Head of Consumer Research, ParcelHero
Booking a courier? No printer required, says ParcelCompare
Graham Parker
CEO, Gravity Supply Chain Solutions
Mitigating The Risks Of Trade Wars And Tariffs
Sam Ireland
International Marketing Manager, Loftware
How Brexit Will Impact Supply Chain Labeling?
Sid Holian
Managing Director, Bis Henderson Consulting
Three critical steps to a hi-tech, agile supply chain
Manu Tyagi
Associate Partner, Retail and Consumer Goods, Infosys Consulting
M&S and Ocado have signed a £750 million deal to take M&S groceries into the home delivery market
Olivier Frère
Serialisaton Expert, Zetes
Understanding the Tobacco Products Directive
Paul Heiden
Senior Vice President of Product Management, Ultimaker
6 overlooked benefits of 3D printing for your supply chain
Dave Locke
EMEA Chief Technology Officer, WWT
Merged pharmaceutical firms seek fast-track route to savings
Johannes Panzer
Head of Industry Strategy for Ecommerce, Descartes
How to make international ecommerce transparent, efficient and cost-effective
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Putting the WOW in the checkout experience
Richard Parfect
Fund Manager, Seneca Investment Managers
The cessation of Airbus A380 production
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
What next for British business?
Chris Jones
EVP Marketing & Services, Descartes
5 Key Logistics Trends and Technology Implications for 2019
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
What is the Checkout of the Future?
Andres Richter
CEO, Priority Software
UK Manufacturing: The Productivity Conundrum
Martin Meacock
Director, Product Management, Descartes
Brexit: only 10 weeks to implement if changes are ultimately needed
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
What does May's defeat mean for the supply chain?
Martin Meacock
Director, Product Management, Descartes
Get Ready for CDS
Don Brenchley
Director Industry Strategy, LLamasoft EMEA
Don't Let Soft Skills Be Forgotten In Your Supply Chain
Robert Broström
Director Of Service And Support, Handheld Group
Handheld Promotes Robert Broström To Director Of Service And Support
Dan Willmer
Professional Services Leader, MercuryGate
MercuryGate Hires Dan Willmer as New Professional Services Leader
Bob Brown
Manufacturing Industry Specialist, Loftware
Ideal Enterprise Labeling Systems Include Support and Service
Jason Chester
Director of Channel Programs, InfinityQS
2019 will see half of manufacturers invest in data collection technologies
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Integrating Man And Machine: A Fresh Approach For Modern Grocery Warehouses
Dustin Maxey
Director of Product Marketing, Ping Identity
Security from the web to the loading bay
David Jinks MILT
Head of Consumer Research, Parcelhero
Parcel Senders Must Face Up to Their Christmas Duties
David Jonker
Vice President, Thought Leadership, SAP
Your Customer, the AI
Kelly Feehan
Service Director, CABA
Workplace wellbeing predictions for 2019
Mike Thornton
Head of Manufacturing, RSM
Brexit uncertainty bites for manufacturers
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
Stockpiling decision should not be taken lightly
Tony Dobson
Managing Director, Snapfulfil
Brexit Uncertainty Boosts Sales For Synergy
David Feakins
Founder and CEO, Modus Brands
How has technology transformed the distribution industry?