Transparency and Technology: The Future of Labelling

Labelling is changing in a big way, as we focus our attention to the coming years we can expect to see a rapid shift in the new addition of technologies that will transform how we work.

The trending industry of labelling technology will impact 2020 and also countless years to come that involves organisational transparency, societal demands for more excellent consumer safety and cloud infrastructure models to increase connected devices.

Here are some key areas to keep updated.

1. The key to efficiency is Integrations and migrations.

Many businesses will have to make their systems competitive and scalable for the next ten years.

For a company to evolve, they need to be involved with the trends of digitisation and modernisation in information technology. These trends would include manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

When an ERP is updated, the organisation must modernise its labelling system, which means they would need to migrate or implement new centralised global and standard labelling solutions. New changes with companies systems accelerate where new technology is applied. There will be further opportunities for global labelling solutions and label management.

Cloud technology is rising as the cloud ERP market revenue is predicted to jump to 32.78 billion in 2025. (Statista.com)

With this technology, it is not often changed all at once but gradually over time. Even though some organisations will likely to migrate over to the cloud, they have components like printer drivers that generate printer command but still operate them on local servers.

As cloud-based labelling is increasing, there will also be higher levels of cloud to cloud integration in both label management systems and general business systems. This will result in a reduce complexity of the business process and make label management more straightforward and efficient.

2. A simple and connected IoT ecosystem.

The hardware and software in labelling, like printers, will become more modernised and streamlined. Currently, Window computers are being switched over to Android-based devices, but it is not just pcs that are being replaced, it’s printers also. 

There are several benefits to having a simple yet well-connected printer on to the cloud, such as;

  • having a streamline operation, 
  • requiring fewer spare parts to stock, 
  • loading media and training operators, 
  • having less unplanned downtime 
  • and reduce admin work that needs support on basic tasks like changing printer settings.

Many companies are adopting the ‘less is more’ by standardising their technology. By having a greater adoption of internet and equipment or IoT devices (Internet of Things) it is continuously reshaping the hardware environment.

3. One system to rule both labelling and direct marking.

Most label printing uses the method of traditional thermal printing while direct marking involved continuous laser inkjet and etching printing. Many companies used both methods in the past, but they are converging to use one system for both technologies.

For this to happen, the transition would be to centralise the label management system where one system can support both methods to print easier.

A lot of modern label management systems can interface with different labelling printers and direct marking regardless of their manufacturer. This will prevent discarding large upfront capital expenditures on products that won’t integrate with other systems or reworking of labels and discard products.

4. Radiofrequency identification (RFID) goes mainstream.

The fashion industry already has taken on for RFID technology. RFID uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags attached to objects automatically.

A study from Future Market Insights estimated that the global RFID market would grow 14.5% annually from 2018 to 2028. Every company can understand why, since RFID can streamline operations and provide immediate insight into inventory and provide greater visibility.

5. Stricter regulations and a simple solution.

Governments and consumers will protect consumer rights, ensure safety and regulation around packaging. With this continuous change, labelling regulations across the industries will become more strict.

For example, the food and beverage industry have new nutritional facts guidelines where the rules around allergen labelling are being tested, such as Illinois adding sesame as a recognised allergen.

We also see new international regulations that will impact companies that operate around the world. The EU will introduce new medical device regulations. Russia, for instance, is introducing a serialisation requirement on everything from pharmaceuticals to fur. 

With many businesses marketing on a global level, international companies will have to customise on their labelling to keep up with the regulations.

There’s now more emphasis than ever for businesses to make sure their labelling is entirely accurate to protect consumers and account for changing regulations. Not only will it help them with their compliance but also for the public to trust their brand.

This will encourage many companies to adopt a label management system that provides accurate labelling and a reliable method to maintain compliantly.