The importance of labeling in the supply chain during the pandemic

Labels have always been a fundamental element for the proper functioning of the supply chain. They are the identity card of each logistics unit, the guarantee for the consumer to see that the product meets the mandatory regulations to be marketed and, therefore, meets the necessary quality conditions.

 

In the current health alarm situation, labeling has gained even more importance. The population is more aware of the origin, composition, production conditions, the path through the supply chain, recyclability, and in general any of the aspects that are contemplated in the labeling, especially of products, food and household consumption (household cleaning, personal hygiene, cosmetics).

 

Buying habits have changed significantly in the last year, with a relevant increase in online commerce. Therefore, distribution companies have had to adapt, as well as the rest of the actors involved in the supply chain, including labeling solution providers.

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Companies specializing in labeling, coding and marking systems, such as UBS, have adapted the configuration of their equipment in accordance with the new health prevention requirements. The automation of processes, and the fact of providing a full service, which minimizes human intervention, provides cost and time optimization, and ease of adapting any production line to market needs.

 

New consumer habits in pandemic times

During the pandemic, in addition to the arising of online commerce, the demand for certain products, especially food and hygiene, has experienced peaks much higher than usual. This has been a very important challenge for the supply chain, which has been able to respond optimally thanks to the efficiency of the labeling systems.

 

Another sector that has been overwhelmed by demand is the pharmaceutical sector; first for the distribution of protection and prevention elements, such as masks, gloves and hydroalcoholic gels, and then for the provision of vaccines against Covid-19. We must not forget that any product that is going to transit through the supply chain must be correctly coded, a challenge to which the packaging industry has responded with enormous efficiency.

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Technological innovation is a factor that works in favor of overcoming obstacles that years ago would have been difficult to manage. Maximum precision printing equipment, such as those from UBS, adaptable to any production line and capable of meeting the highest speed requirements without penalizing quality, are an essential tool to overcome the most complex challenges.

 

The challenges of labeling

Among these, and although they are already being answered in a satisfactory way, it is necessary to contemplate:

  • The complexity of consolidating the management of traceability, health and safety processes associated with the large increase in online commerce operations. In the automated supply chain, the accuracy of the information shared between all actors is crucial; and the element that transmits it is the label.

  • Another great challenge is the standardization of the labeling process and the consolidation of automation that, in anticipation of an increase in demand, avoids errors related to manual operations.

  • RFID technology is an efficient and agile solution for sharing information between the different agents involved in the supply chain. However, it requires the commitment of the labeling solution providers.

  • The sustainability. The increase in shipments and the need to respond quickly to demand cannot be detrimental to the commitment to the environment. Even if sustainability continues to be a priority. For this reason, printing systems that respect the environment, such as the ones we propose at UBS, are the best solution.

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