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Labels producers

Production specifics

A label is a product made of foil or paper located immediately on the product or on its packaging in order to identify or specify its content. Currently labels are more than just information – they are used for marketing activities, advertising product by attracting the consumers attention. Their task is also to prove the quality of product and to strengthen its brand. A separate, very specific group are the labels for pharmaceutical sector which besides the aesthetic label requirements must also meet a range of additional demands.

There are many types of labels produced using various techniques of printing and materials having various sizes and shapes. Therefore, high quality of print, precise workmanship and production time are of crucial importance.

Labels production occurs mainly using the flexography print on adhesive substrates of foils and papers. The technology is based on using flexible relief printing forms. The labels printing is performed in a roll-to-roll system, resulting in a labels roll which may then be cut and forwarded to the customer in the form of smaller rolls for further use in the packaging production. Labels are produced also using the offset technology – in such case the finished labels are delivered to the customer in the form of scored sheets.

Problems and Challenges

A label most often is not a separate product but a component used by the print shop customer in the consecutive automated processes.  Therefore, production of labels requires wider scope of cooperation with the client than other kinds of printing production. A print shop often receives only the assumptions for a graphic design and prepares the final version of production files by itself. The arrangements are not however limited to works on graphic design. Labels production requires precise and explicit arrangements while specifying type of substrate, shape and size of the label, gaps between the labels, its winding method. For graphic design, technical requirements and implementation schedule on the customer side, three different persons must often be responsible and coordination of the whole project becomes the print shop responsibility.

In addition during the labels production, a proper identification of goods and also the batch from which the given product originates are particularly important. These issues become critical in the case of pharmaceutical sector due to the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements regarding any components (including labels) used in the pharmaceutical production process.

The labels production process sees problems typical for any other types of printing production – related to timely performance of orders, products quality, customer communication problems.

Solution

PrintManager (CRM - Client Relations Management module, PLM - Product Lifecycle Management, PP - Preplanning, JA - working time registering module, WMS - Warehouse Management System, SA - sales, BI - strategic analysis) + WebClient - www order and storage processes supporting module.

The PrintManager system is a modular system supporting printing company management. The system enables registering of any crucial information for operation efficiency, its processing and making it available to the authorised persons. The system supports implementation of processes in the company, helps in following the required procedures by imposing order and standardising work of all its users. The system configuration is flexible enough to allow for covering and modelling not only the production processes but also for graphic projects performance, marketing activities, complaints processes and any other processes with established procedure – e.g. related with implementation of quality systems procedures obligatory in the company.

From the print shop employees’ point of view, implementation of the PrintManager system enhances work organisation, improves information flow, automates the repeatable operations. For the management board, system implementation guarantees compliance with the chosen procedures, ensures control over the employees’ activities, gives access to indices informing about effectiveness of performed actions.

Support of the basic areas of company operation

Customer service, Sales, Finances, Warehouse are the basic areas of company operation. The PrintManager system offers support the ContactManager, ProductManager, Sales and WarehouseManager modules.

The ContactManager is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) used for collection of information about the print shop customers, documents management and organising work in the form of projects. It can be used for modelling and control of any processes performed in a company, enforcing specified operations on the users. The ContactManager module includes also a set of Document Management System functions: enables registering the documents created in the company, following changes made in these documents and controlling the documents versions.

The SalesAssistant is the module responsible for supporting sales in the PrintManager system. The module allows for registering sales documents related to the production orders for customers. The system integration results in forwarding most of data from other modules which significantly simplifies work with SA module. The module also enables registering purchase invoices and settlement of invoice. The SA module is open to integration with many popular finance and accounting systems is its significant feature which additionally enhances information flow in a company and automates the implemented processes.

The warehouse is serviced using the WarehouseManager module. The module offers complex management services for numerous physical and logical warehouses. The system may serve many companies and the number of serviced warehouse documents covers the scope of each print shop warehouse operation in 100%. The warehouse enables full identification of products including identification of orders (production batches) from which comes a product available at the warehouse.

Technical preparation of production

The ProductManager module is used for description of production technology in the PrintManager system. It is a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) class module supporting the user from the moment of preparing a quotation through automatic generation of offers, placing orders to generating job orders. Production technology is already initially specified during calculation and the production costs are estimated then. Upon establishing the final performance technology the estimated production costs are recalculated before commencement of production which helps in locating works of lower profitability even before their execution and allows for earlier reaction. Production technology of repeatable products such as labels, packaging or periodicals of constant volume is saved by the ProductManager in a process chart enabling immediate commencement of production using the right technology in the case of reprints.

Production Planning

The ProductionPlanner module enables the planner to optimise printing production in terms of backgrounds and formats used for printing as well as any tools such as blanking dies and stencils for embossing in order to limit the number of the necessary changeovers of machine to the minimum and to limit the production costs.

PrePress

The PrintManager system supports prepress processes by monitoring the status of tools required for production (such as blanking dies, printingforms or stencils for embossing) and informing about the materials not being ready for the planned orders. The solution enables prepress processes optimisation by adjusting them to the production plans, notwithstanding whether the tools are made in the print shop or at the subcontractors. The system also provides effective register of prepress processes costs regardless of the method of their processing.

Press

In the JobAcquisitor module, print operators have access to technological details regarding the performed operations. The module allows for registration of work in real time while processing the job order leading to more efficient organisation and work control. The machines operators also have the possibility of reporting the errors and breaks in production occurring during the production process.

In the case of implementing new products, JobAcquisitor module allows for reporting key parameters of the operation such as the choice of aniloxes or the mixed ink formulas which are inserted into the Process Chart and guarantee repetitiveness of production during the next reprints.

PostPress

The JobAcquisitor module enables registration of production operations by the operators in accordance with the technology path specified in the order. Registration of any parameters for operation is possible using the module. Automatic counting of operation time depending on the number of personnel adjusts operation to the given production shift.

Using the module in the confectioning process allows for verification of the substrate quantity reported by the printers and use it for example to specify the remuneration in case of appropriate remuneration systems.
Management Board

All the modules of the PrintManager system collect ongoing data regarding work of the particular employees and sections then added into the central data warehouse which apart from MRP system may aggregate information from other information solutions working in the company enabling for creation of precise multilayer strategic analyses. The BI module helps in precise accounting and checking profitability of orders with many finished products combined on one printing sheet.

Solution Advantages

  • The PrintManager system enforces compliance with the accepted procedures and implementation of a set of significant information which is particularly important during production of labels when multilateral agreements are necessary before commencement of production
  • All events in the system are assigned to a user and have creation date which helps in reconstruction of history of any process, in management and ongoing control of many parallel processes
  • Description of performance technology in the PrintManager system may have gradually increasing level of detail, from the initial technology description in calculation to detailed description of single operations parameters  on a Process Chart
  • The system includes the possibility of modelling and controlling any process – from approval of graphic design of the label to the ISO or GMP Quality Standards procedures.
  • The PrintManager system allows for identification of the batch of the substrate available in the warehouse as well as of the batch for the products located in the warehouse
  • All data and documents are saved on the server which increases their safety – data gathered in one place simplifies archiving and it is also easier to protect it against access of unauthorised persons
  • The PrintManager system is based on stable, reliable Microsoft company solutions and therefore cooperates well with the Office software and any administrator familiar with Microsoft solutions can manage it.
  • The client-server architecture and modular construction makes the system scalable – i.e. it is easily adjustable to the company of any size and development of the system does not require exchange of the system server, purchase of singular modules is sufficient.

Implementation Benefits

  • Introduction of multi-level cost evaluation and control – at the calculation level upon preparation of technology and upon performance of an order
  • Implementation of effective production planning methods taking into account availability of materials
  • Management process optimisation with raw material supplies which guarantees availability of the needed materials without increasing the warehouse inventories
  • Improvement of information flow inside the company
  • Standardisation of working and data recording methods
  • Factual enforcement of observance of key procedures
  • Improvement of identification of the materials and products origin