Top trends in enterprise labeling: Part 2

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READ PART ONE HERE 4. Technology advances influence labeling Technology continues to revolutionize the way companies conduct business and execute bus...


4. Technology advances influence labeling

Technology continues to revolutionize the way companies conduct business and execute business processes. Cloud-based computing offers endless possibilities for outsourcing applications and computing infrastructure, enabling companies to concentrate on core competencies. These new deployment models impact many aspects of business including labeling. As people continue to think differently about how applications will be delivered, they are at the same time beginning to think differently about how labeling is incorporated into these emerging deployment models. Companies are looking for their labeling solutions to embrace these new models from an access, integration, and deployment perspective.

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Three important considerations behind this trend are:

  • Accessing browser-based labeling: Companies seeking global deployment for labeling are utilizing browser-based applications, which can dramatically reduce the burden of installing and maintaining labeling systems. These applications allow companies to enable users with instant access to functionality, and provide security over labeling visibility and access, all while offer­ing streamlined management of global operations.
  • Implementing cloud-based technology: Many companies are moving their IT infrastructures to the Cloud to streamline their on-demand provisioning of software, hardware, and data as a service. Com­panies are either looking to integrate labeling with existing Cloud-based systems or for solutions that can be part of the adoption of this deployment model. The Cloud model provides flexibility to scale, eliminates the need for extensive disaster recovery plans and provides automatic software updates. Business users embracing this new technology will need labeling solutions to work with and potentially be deployed in the Cloud.
  • Labeling meets the Internet of Things (IoT): A growing trend across multiple industries, IoT impacts how businesses communicate and connect. The opportunity to monitor and manage an entire network of devices, sensors, and other components provides untapped opportunities for a wide range of solutions including labeling. Labeling is an important component that needs to be considered as businesses evaluate their IoT strategy. As companies are imple­menting their IoT initiatives they are looking to rely on their labeling solutions to manage global printer networks, update device settings, send print requests and monitor status.

5. Evolving global regulations continue to impact labeling

The effect of regulations and emerging stan­dards continue to impact businesses globally across a wide range of industries. Labeling is a specific area where constant change is neces­sary to comply with evolving requirements. More often than ever companies are looking for solutions that will assist them in achieving compliance in order to avoid fines, disruptions to their supply chains and ultimately loss of busi­ness. The GHS (Global Harmonized Systems) for Chemical Industry, the Drug Quality Security Act (DQSA) and the Unique Device Identification (UDI) for Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries, and the Food & Beverage Industry’s EU1169, as well as GS1 standards, are all having a significant impact on labeling.

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Here is a glimpse at some of the leading regulations and standards that are shaping the future of labeling in today’s global supply chain.

GS1 – The GS1 system of standards continues to play a significant role in food and beverage, health care and retail industries among others. GS1 provides standards for providing accurate identification and communication of information regarding products, assets, services and locations in the global supply chain. These standards, including barcode and ID Key Standards, offer implementation tools for traceability throughout the global supply chain. This includes Global Trade Identification Numbers (GTIN) and Global Location Number (GLN) allocation rules for use in bar­code labeling to support safety initiatives and enable quick and efficient product recalls.

GHS – The GHS, which continues to impact business in chemical and related industries internationally, is a system for standardizing and harmonizing the classi­fication and labeling of chemicals. From raw materials to finished goods delivery, companies are facing more complexity in chemical labeling with risk of heavy penalties for non-compliance. With the fast approach­ing deadline of June 2015, the GHS requirement is becoming a pressing consideration for chemical com­panies and many manufacturers, where all hazardous materials being housed, shipped or received, require proper labeling to abide by the ensuing GHS standard.

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DQSA / DSCSA – Part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) DQSA, the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), supersedes previous state level laws and addresses national track and trace of certain prescription drugs to play an important role with labeling in the pharmaceutical industry. Signed into law in 2013, the implementation is phased over ten years with several key requirements beginning at various stages in 2015. By 2023, the system will facilitate the exchange of information at the individual package level regarding where the drug has been in the supply chain.

UDI – Phased in over several years, UDI, which re­quires most medical devices distributed in the United States to carry a unique device identifier, continues to play a significant role with labeling in this industry. This mandate, which was adopted in 2014, is intended to improve patient safety and allows traceability of medical devices from production down to medical use. The next UDI deadline of September 2015 requires that all labels and packages for implantable, life-sup­porting, and life-sustaining devices bear a UDI and be submitted to the Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUIDID). 

EU1169 – This European Commission standard, which increases the amount of mandatory information required to sell food products, represents a significant change to what and how information is displayed on food and beverage packaging. This rule, which was designed to make food labeling easier to understand, went into effect in December 2014 and ensuing requirements to include nutritional information will begin on December 2016. Although initiated as a European Union (EU) standard, this directive is far-reaching and impacts suppliers, food service operators, retailers and food business operators at all stages of the food supply chain within Europe and any global suppliers who import or distribute to Europe.

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RoHS – The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, which originated in Europe, restricts the use of six hazardous materials found in varied electrical and electronic equipment. Initiated in 2006, the mandate includes RoHS2, which proposes changes to the original directive, with proposed compliance dates for inclusion beginning in 2015.

About the author: Josh Roffman is Vice President of Marketing and Product Management at Loftware, a global market leader in Enterprise Labeling Solutions.  Josh has over 20 years of marketing and product management experience with leading enterprise software companies. Specializing in the impact of supply chain trends on enterprise labeling, Josh frequently speaks at industry events most recently addressing attendees at Oracle’s Value Chain Summit, Pharma Labeling Conference, and the ASUG Fall Focus.

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