When opening a new facility or redesigning one that has proven to be inefficient, it is critical to focus on the basics such as layout, followed by storage system selection and lastly labeling the warehouse. Labeling the warehouse is a key element of warehouse design that is often overlooked by warehouses and distribution centers. Those who choose to forgo this activity or do not follow best practices often suffer from significant financial losses in the form of wasted labor hours and lost inventory. The cost to label any given facility, regardless of size, is far outweighed by the financial implications of an insufficiently labelled warehouse. Some of the top factors to consider when labeling your warehouse include barcode scheme, label materials, label placement and supporting technologies. Here we will look into each topic more in depth. First, identifying the barcode scheme that works for all parties involved is standard – both the GS1 and UPC schemas are used frequently. Between your partners, identify what inventory data must be readable within this schema (i.e. expiration date, manufacture date, weight, serial). Next, consider what label material will be best for your operation, for both locations and individual inventory items. This is especially important in facilities with temperature regulated zones as standard paper labels often cannot stand up to the tough environmental conditions. Now, evaluate which best practices fit your operational needs for label locations. It is standard to follow basic labeling protocol such as placing labels at eye level and printing in easily identifiable colors for simplified viewing, arrows identifying exact inventory locations and labeling of bulk areas or locations with no shelving. When labeling inventory itself, make sure this is standardized across all inventory items, and communicate these requirements to vendors if items are being labeled before they reach your facility. Lastly, identify what technology will be needed to optimize your daily label printing needs. Many facilities have opted to implement mobile printers to reduce travel time and distance throughout the facility, saving time and money. Making this operation more efficient frees up valuable time that can be used for other business critical functions. Do not treat warehouse and inventory labeling as an afterthought as it often has more impact on your business than you may realize. To learn more about supply chain best practices like these contact Datex experts today at marketing@datexcorp.com or 800.933.2839 ext 243.

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