Supply Chain Foundation Guide (SCF)
Organizing the Labeling Project
Overview of Organizing a Compliance Labeling Project
& Chapter 6 explain how to implement 2 types of
compliance labeling projects:
- Product labeling
using the GS1 (formerly EAN.UCC) standard numbering system, which is explained in Chapter
- Serial numbering
of shipping containers using the Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) format
which is also explained in Chapter 4.
Many aspects of these two
projects are different but initial preparation steps for either project are the
same. These common preparation steps are described in this chapter.
A Project Perspective
Compliance labeling is not
necessarily hard but it is a project that may take several months to implement.
Successful implementation will require dedicated effort of experienced people.
It’s important to recognize this up front because failure to do so could lead
to understaffing, under-funding and unrealistic expectations.
The diagram below
illustrates the stages of a typical compliance labeling project. The bullets
below the diagram briefly summarize each stage.
project team led by a dedicated
project leader with a mandate from management to implement is highly
recommended because several disciplines are often involved.
the specifications will prevent
making innocent but costly errors.
information system needs to be
capable of supplying the information that the customer wants. This may
require some modifications to the system which the MIS / Data Processing
department must plan and implement.
- After the information system is capable of
providing the necessary information, the organization must decide how the
labels or symbols will be printed
- The new system should be tested to cover the
full range of labeling situations and modified if problems surface.
Once perfected, the new procedures are
"rolled-out" and become
3.3 The Importance of Management
makes many recommendations but the most important is this… senior
management must make a financial and time commitment to get
involved and act.
GS1 (formerly EAN.UCC)
numbering, bar code labeling and EC/EDI affect vendor and customer
relationships as well as every operating department within an organization. As
such, transitioning to these technologies requires leadership from one or more
persons in the organization with the power to override territorial disputes and
overcome resistance to change.
Considering the potential
beneficial impact on Sales, Gross Margins and Overhead, making the time and
financial commitment is worth the most senior manager's time. Federal Express
uses bar code because the president saw its potential to differentiate their
service. Milliken & Company and the entire textile and apparel industries
adopted bar code and EC/EDI technology in record time because the most senior
managers in those industries got personally involved to initiate projects that
never would have succeeded without their political and financial support.
The secret to benefiting
from these technologies is more than understanding them. It's using them.
This may sound obvious but a surprising number of companies have been thinking
about GS1 (formerly EAN.UCC) numbering, bar code and EC/EDI for years! Without management
support, these programs are studied indefinitely, going through phases of high
and low priority. Each re-examination of the technology consumes valuable
resources. Ultimately, the final implementation cost is much higher than a
concerted implementation program supported by management would have been.
Management involvement and
support is probably the single most important factor differentiating companies
that successfully implement and benefit from those that don't.
3.4 Makeup of the Project Team
It’s a mistake to under-staff these projects. Compliance
labeling requires the coordinated efforts of several functional areas of the
company. The following disciplines should be represented on the project team.
Project Leader with a
mandate from senior management to implement the project. The project
leader will need an understanding of project management, bar code technology,
the company’s inventory, and the specification. In some cases, the project
leader is also the company bar code coordinator.
MIS (data processing, computer
skills). Bar code projects involve computers. Bar code printers will need to
be connected to a computer. Sometimes, changes will need to be made to the
company database. MIS will play a vital role in the success of the project.
Every company has a shortage of qualified MIS professionals
but bar code labeling projects will require their support. Some of the work can
be subcontracted to bar code vendors / systems integrators but that only reduces
the time demands on the company’s own resources. It doesn’t eliminate them.
Customer Liaison to
coordinate and document communications between you and the customer. This
could be a customer service representative or someone from sales or
Operations / User
representatives to develop workable procedures to apply the symbols /
to develop vendor selection criteria and to develop the skills needed to
purchase bar code equipment efficiently.
The team should meet regularly (weekly) to review progress
and issue new assignments. Minutes of each meeting should be prepared. Minutes
should include individual assignments, due dates and progress against these due
dates. The manager that issued the mandate to implement should receive a copy of
each week’s minutes.
3.5 Company Bar Code Coordinator
Recommendation: Appoint a company bar code coordinator, broadcast this
person’s appointment and responsibilities to the entire company and make
certain that all inquiries from your trading partners are directed to that
By centralizing the knowledge with a company bar code
coordinator, additional applications for bar code will be implemented faster and
at less overall cost. Easy access to a company bar code coordinator enables
employees to discuss potentially beneficial applications with an insider that
really understands how to use it. This, too, will accelerate the process of
finding beneficial applications and gaining user support.
Understanding the Specification
Regardless of which type of compliance labeling project you
are being asked to implement, it’s vital that each member of the team
understand the specification. Without a common understanding, individual members
of the team can work at cross purposes.
The set of
GS1 (formerly EAN.UCC) specifications can be thought of as
different report formats designed for specific applications. One format is used
to count individual consumer units, one is used to count cartons containing
multiple consumer units and one is used for EDI transactions. The
"reports" can be printed directly on the item or on a label applied to
the item, carton, pallet, etc.
Each different specification clearly specifies:
the number(s) that should appear
on the label / item.
what data should be in printed
in human readable form.
what data should be in bar code
what bar code symbologies are
how the human readable and bar
codes should be arranged on the label / item.
the range of acceptable label
where the information should be
placed on the item.
Chapter 4 … The GS1 Standard Numbering System explains the GS1
(formerly EAN.UCC) numbering system in detail.
3.7 Implementation Roadmap
Team is Organized
1. Management Initiates Project
2. Team Formed
3. Work Plan is Developed
1. Determine how many types of
labels will be needed.
2. Prepare label samples (hand
drawn if necessary) and submit to customer for approval.
3. Customer confirms that samples
1. MIS flow charts inputs /
Where the information needed on
each label format will be entered.
What data comes from a database
stored on the host?
What data is manually input? i.e.
Doesn’t come from the host.
What data will be input at print
Where, physically, is the data
Electronic forms (screen, EDI,
Hard copy (reports & labels)
2. Prepare information system to
adhere to specific industry application specifications.
3. Select Printer interface
4. Site Diagram is prepared
Applying and Quality
2. Operational procedures to
print and apply the labels are in place and accepted by operations / user
3. Brands of Hardware and
Software are selected
4. Label materials selected and
documented for the purchasing department
5. Hardware and Software
6. Maintenance Procedures
Name of procedure
Description of procedure
7. Quality Procedures Documented
(see Chapter 7)
8. Training Program Developed
1. Pilot Test demonstrating all
different types of labels needed is designed and conducted.
2. Modifications to system are
made (if necessary)
3. Another test if modifications
Full Scale Implementation / Ongoing
1. Customer Communications
2. Label Quality Checking
3. New Operator
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