Industry Expert Opinion: Bob Neagle
Business Unit Manager for Secondary Packaging (LCM & LPA) at Videojet Technologies
Effective supply chain management and traceability requires the placement of accurate and highly legible coding and product information on secondary packaging. In managing secondary packaging lines, manufacturers have to juggle the requirements of their supply chain partners while at the same time complying with local standards and regulations such as serialization requirements in the pharmaceutical and food industries in which unique codes are printed on product and secondary packaging. These codes are required so that, for example, the production facility, date and batch can be easily traced in the event of a food-related outbreak.
One very common approach is to pre-print adhesive labels with the coding and product information and apply them to the secondary packaging. Typically, a self-adhesive label is pre-printed either in-house or by an external printing company for each stock control unit (SKU) with specific information pertaining to the product such as name, logo, barcode, etc. The label is normally applied to the secondary package either with a label applicator or by hand. But this approach is being used less frequently because of its relatively high cost. The high cost comes from the need to print, store and manage many different labels and the potential for these labels to be wasted if the product changes. Another drawback of this approach is that the shipment delays can occur whenever a particular label is depleted.