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.

By ·

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.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Solving the Labor Shortage Crisis: The Four Benefits of an Automated Warehouse
Not enough warehouse staff? Finding it difficult to keep up with orders during peak periods?
Download Today!
From the March 2018 Modern Materials Handling Issue
Here’s how one of the world’s largest 3PLs is looking to tomorrow’s innovative technologies, including heads-up display and robotics, to transform its operations today.
Conveyors & sortation: Carrying the e-commerce burden
2018 Productivity Achievement Awards
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Emerging Technologies for Your Distribution Center
Come get an insider's view of the latest technologies for inside your Distribution Center. You'll learn which technologies are being piloted, which are having success and moving from concept to implementation and into production on the maturity scale, and what's coming on the horizon.
Register Today!
NextGen Supply Chain at DHL
Here’s how one of the world’s largest 3PLs is looking to tomorrow’s innovative technologies,...
Trinchero Family Estates: Pallet handling in the vineyard
The second-largest family-owned wine company in the world turns to automated pallet handling and...

System Report: Rocky Brands Sees the Light
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer...
Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
In a new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business...