Improving efficiency in the supply chain is a top priority for every manager, and it often starts with better inventory control. As a business grows, it becomes more difficult to track and trace merchandise even when it is still in production. Despite accurate staffing and procedures, human error can quickly reduce efficiency and productivity.
Barcode scanning is one way to reduce errors in the warehouse. By simplifying data collection, inventory accuracy will improve and employees will be able to work more quickly. For companies in the food supply chain, this information also allows them to prepare better for a recall, which can become costly if the expectations of consumers and government agencies are not met.
License Plating For Greater Control
In addition to barcode scanning, license plating groups like pieces of inventory in a common container for easier management. At any point in the manufacturing process, an organization can create a license plate, also referred to as a pallet label. Items can be grouped when they arrive at receiving, while work is being completed and during picking and shipping.
License plates can be used to group any type of information as a single unit. While common on pallets, merchandise can even be associated to a virtual container such as a work order or to an entire trailer. According to the RFgen white paper: "Got a License Plate for that Pallet?," labeling a pallet or other virtual container can be associated with a vast amount of information, including:
- Part numbers, serial numbers and lot number
- Item names, quantities and organization
- Revisions, inventory status, physical location and expiration date
Pallet labeling supplies employees with information that can be used to determine how shipments on the same load should be placed for maximum efficiency down the line. In some supply chains, an organization's customers may request pallet labels because it improves their own receiving process. According to the white paper, many large retailers now request that their suppliers use pallet licensing.
The improved traceability of information on a pallet label is invaluable for food suppliers and other organizations that need accurate, real-time information on the physical location of recalled merchandise. With pallet labeling, stock is quickly located even if it is in transit or has already reached the customer. With just a barcode scanner, information about hundreds of items is available all at once.