The effects of proper labelling and quality of storage of goods

The problem of identifying data about how to store goods

A commercial company’s warehouse receives 1,000 pallets per day with a wide range of products, and the goods on certain pallets should be sent immediately to cold storage, where a constant temperature of 6°C is maintained. Unfortunately, it very often happens that the labels on the packages are illegible or there is no indication whatsoever that the load must be transported to cold storage, which results in certain goods losing their properties.

The company affected by the problem owns only simple software allowing the recording of incoming and outgoing goods, and data is entered into the system manually by employees.

One data input point in the whole supply chain

When a large amount of pallets are being processed, it is difficult to ensure full qualitative and quantitative servicing of goods. The solution to this problem would seem to be to involve a complex solution connected with providing the entire supply chain (a group of a associated entities) with a standardised solution with regard to access to a tool guaranteeing efficient and effective management of the goods dealt with. One element of this type of solution would be the assumption that information about the goods is entered into the system at the start of its journey through various distribution centres and warehouses. This would enable mistakes connected with entering the same information in different ways, for example, to be avoided. In addition, warehousemen would be able to focus on carrying out detailed quality and quantity checks.

In such a situation it is additionally suggested that a common model is developed for labelling packaging, particularly bulk packaging (pallets), which would guarantee that condensed information about contents is transmitted at every stage of the exchange of goods.

Solution using the GS1 logistics label

A solution which is useful for every entity, as well as being an established concept on the market, is the use of logistics labels marked with the GS1 symbol. This label presents information in a standardised form, with the top part showing information about the product in any form, and the information in the middle and lower part contained in a barcode.

From the point of view of solving the problem detected, the most important part of the GS1 label seems to be the top, where any textual information can be placed as necessary, apart from the details of the entity creating the label and the name and description of the goods. In such a case, this field should contain information concerning how the goods are to be stored, in particular the temperature range.

A possible alternative to textual information could be to use colours to denote the storage temperature of the goods contained within the packaging. This solution, though, would require a detailed visual scale to be developed, and it would also be necessary to enter data concerning the precise storage temperature. This means that the textual solution seems to be the optimal one to resolve the problem in question. Considering the above solution, staff at the warehouse entrance would have to concentrate on putting the pallets in their proper place, e.g. in the cold store, under an umbrella roof, out in the open, etc.

Using WMS

One of the logistics concepts enabling the proposed solution to be carried in practice is introducing appropriate WMS software ( Warehouse Management System), selected to meet the needs of the supply chain. A comprehensive approach to the loading process, and thus to the warehouses themselves, is one of the fundamental requirements of effective and efficient management in the contemporary market economy. The information included in the WMS would be entered once by the first issuer of the load, then randomly verified at various links of the supply chained created. In the event that it is impossible to implement the management system in every connected company, it would be necessary to enter the storage temperature on the list of properties when notifying deliveries (i.e. importing index data to the WMS). Then, when receiving a given logistic unit the WMS system will immediately direct the product to the appropriate zone (e.g. cold storage). Integration of warehouse systems among companies or distribution centres, and the process of transmitting information can be simplified even further.