5 Ways Labels Can Prepare Your Warehouse for the Holiday Rush

Over the past few years, the global pandemic has greatly accelerated the adoption of online shopping throughout the U.S. In fact, e-commerce sales grew to $870 billion in 2021—a whopping 50.5% increase since 2019, according to the Q2 2022 E-Commerce Report recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Moreover, e-commerce represented 13.2% of all U.S. retail sales last year.

The rhythm of e-commerce has also become highly seasonal in nature. In 2021, online holiday sales in the U.S. surpassed the $200 billion mark for the first time, reaching $211.41 billion in retail sales during the holiday season—a 54% jump in volume since 2019. This means that nearly $1 in every $4 spent on retail purchases came from online orders.

Managing this seasonal spike in orders can be a major logistical challenge for warehouse operators, as every item ordered online must then be picked up from warehouse slots. This has led to a heightened emphasis on bulk storage and high-capacity racking in order to accommodate large unit and SKU volumes. As more facilities adopt these systems, warehouse operators are facing increasingly unique labeling and signage needs in order to keep their operations running smoothly.

With all that is riding on peak season, it’s critical to get ahead of the holiday surge and start preparing now to ensure your warehouse can meet the consumer demand.

5 Benefits of a Proper Warehouse Labeling System

Whether your label is used in a warehouse, distribution facility, fulfillment center or retail backroom, it plays a critical role in streamlining the identification and tracking of your product inventory. As you look to maximize your operational efficiency, here are five key reasons why it’s important to use the proper labeling system for your warehouse:

  1. Streamlines Inventory Tracking:

    Ideal for high-capacity racks, pallets and bins, warehouse label solutions—such as variable information labels—can help to optimize inventory management by enabling workers to identify and pick products more quickly. By simply scanning these labels, warehouse operators are able to track the precise location of each product, as well as the movement of inventory throughout the supply chain, using a searchable database.

  2. Minimizes Errors in Inventory Management:

    Warehouse labels help to minimize many costly errors that often occur as a result of manually tracking your product inventory. Whether featuring barcodes, color or highly visible text, variable information labels enable workers to quickly locate inventory and stay abreast of products that need to be restocked—streamlining the order fulfillment process.

  3. Improves Readability of Product Data:

    Even as warehouses and distribution facilities have become more automated in recent years, the use of certain label solutions—like barcodes—remains vital to proper inventory management. The right labels will ensure that your product information remains readable, even if part of the label is damaged and cannot be scanned.

  4. Reduces Location Confusion

    The use of proper warehouse labeling systems enables workers to quickly locate your product inventory, thereby minimizing picking errors or lost merchandise. Variable information and color-coded labels are often used to categorize products visually in a warehouse environment, making it easy to identify when an item is out of place or even out of stock.

  5. Streamlines the Packaging Process

    Much more than just a pit stop in the supply chain, a warehouse or distribution facility is a place to receive, store, track, pick, pack and ship out new product inventory—which is no small task without the proper systems in place. The right label solutions can help your team package multiple items for shipping simultaneously—saving on both time and labor.

Types of Warehouse Label Solutions

When it comes to streamlining the operational efficiency of your warehouse, there are a wide variety of label options that are available to suit your specific needs:

  • Variable Information Labels: Using an on-demand printing process, these labels offer an efficient way to mass produce and customize labels with unique data. Variable printing makes tracking and tracing your inventory easier with the ability to print sequential, variable or random barcodes, QR codes and more.
  • Rack Labels: Used to mark each rack bay location in a warehouse, these labels help to optimize inventory management by enabling workers to identify, manage and pick products more quickly. The label serves as a visual reference, while the barcode is used to identify product location. These labels can be sequentially printed or blank for on-demand use.
  • Tote/Bin Labels: These labels are often used for smaller items, such as those packaged in a bag or when order fulfillment involves individually packaged items. They help to prevent the scuffing of barcodes, as totes and bins are stacked to maximize storage space.
  • Pallet Labels: These labels are ideal when items are shipped or stored in large quantities. Occasionally, pallets may be permanently labeled with barcodes—in lieu of rack labels—to provide greater flexibility with product storage.
  • Floor Labels: These labels are an ideal solution for large warehouses with a high volume of product inventory. They are designed specifically to withstand heavy foot traffic, wear and tear, and exposure to harsh chemicals.
  • Warehouse Magnets: The most reusable option of all label solutions, magnets are often used to mark a rack or shelf location. They can be applied to product inventory regardless of temperature, removed without damage or residue, and easily relocated as needed.
  • Door Dock Tags: These labels can be placed on walls adjacent to a dock door, allowing forklift operators to quickly scan a label from a distance while loading a pallet onto his or her truck. This helps to minimize any downtime and streamline the order fulfillment process.
  • Thermal Transfer Ribbon Labels: Thermal transfer is an on-demand printing method that transfers wax or resin film to a label substrate using heat, pressure and speed. Although black is most commonly used, colored ribbons offer unique advantages for warehouse environments, such as color coding inventory to streamline stocking, tracking and picking.
  • Color Inkjet Labels: These labels offer the ability to custom print color at the point of application, as well as to mass produce color labels with variable information. They can be custom preprinted with flex-o print color, or printed on-demand in color.

Want to Find the Right Label Solutions for Your Warehouse?

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