Other Voices: Learn from well-run projects, learn even more from poorly-run projects

Labeling success stories and horror stories prove the value of testing...and testing some more.

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Editor’s Note: The following column by Paul Movsesian, sales manager for Dasko Label, is part of Modern’s Other Voices column, a series featuring ideas, opinions and insights from end-users, analysts, systems integrators and OEMs. Click here to learn about submitting a column for consideration.


Mistakes are varied and complex, although most are preventable if companies explore and test the label solution prior to installation. Here are some warehouse labeling “horror stories” we have seen:

A major auto manufacturer contracted to have racking labeled in a new facility. The original label vendor did not take the time to test the adhesive on the new rack surface and was not aware of the painting process being used by the rack manufacturer. When the labels were installed immediately after the rack was manufactured and delivered, the paint was still outgassing, which caused all of the 75,000 labels to begin to lift and peel away from the rack face. This resulted in an expensive and time-consuming repair job.

A major clothing vendor assigned an inexperienced engineer to oversee the purchase and installation of 50,000 rack labels. The first and most important consideration on the part of the engineer was the price of the labels. Quality and durability was sacrificed to obtain the lowest possible price. At the engineer’s recommendation, the company installed paper labels with rubber based adhesive for permanent rack locations. Within three months, 30% of the labels were falling off the rack. At the end of nine months, more than 75% of the labels were lifting and falling off. The entire 50,000 labels had to have a patch of clear specialty lamination placed over the label to prevent the lifting. The cost to repair the original label job was greater than what the company would have spent if the label had been specified correctly at the start of the project.

A large multinational industrial company spent a tremendous amount of time and effort purchasing the correct labels and scanners for a large distribution center. However, under a time crunch to bring the project live, the company did not take the time to train their staff as to what distance they could expect when scanning the various bar codes in the warehouse. The warehouse employees assumed that all labels could be scanned from any distance with any scanner. After much frustration,
a 15-minute training session was held at various times for each shift. This training resulted in greater overall acceptance of the new system.

Success stories
Successful distribution center labeling projects across a wide range of industries have common elements: strong, dedicated project management, adequately staffed project teams, project funding and sufficiently allotted time. Each of these companies were deeply involved in the most important part of the project, which is the test phase. Each of these companies tested, tested, and tested.

Labeling solutions can be devised to label any warehouse no matter how diverse or complex the application. Specialty materials, color coding, signage and specialty label holders can be employed to solve even the most difficult labeling problems. Do not underestimate the value of working with an experienced label vendor who knows the potential pitfalls and can help you avoid them. The successful labeling of a warehouse can be accomplished if the project team starts early, meets often and tests, tests, tests.

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