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June 7, 2023

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Top 5 Trends for 2023: Growing demand for an all-in-one standardized labeling solution

Stefanie Guzikowski

Senior Industry Marketing Manager 

Given today’s volatile markets, companies of all sizes are looking to expand their digital transformation programs to optimize costs and gain a competitive advantage as they look ahead to the second half of 2023 and beyond. 

As part of this, manufacturers are seeking an all-in-one digital ecosystem that can bring products to market quickly, efficiently, and more competitively. Additionally, we have seen an increased demand to print on anything from hard or flexible plastic like a water bottle to a foiled pouch or even wood. 

This has created the desire for a solution that offers integration capabilities to manage output for all devices from thermal label printers to color inkjet and laser, coding and marking devices, visual inspection systems, serialization solutions, and more. Ultimately, these organizations are looking to deploy a “one solution prints all” standardized platform across their production lines, factories, and warehouses to reduce errors, increase efficiencies, and save time and expense. 

Automating coding and marking

Despite the critical role coding and marking plays in supply chain continuity, there has been a significant disconnect between legacy coding and marking devices from enterprise applications where processes are labor-intensive with limited automation controlling the workflow. This approach leaves operators stuck manually entering production-related information, such as expiration date, batch, and lot numbers, which of course leads to costly instances of mislabeling and manual entry errors that result in long delays.

In fact, Loftware’s 2023 annual ‘Top 5 Trends in Labeling & Packaging Artwork’ report revealed the scale of this issue, as almost half of the respondents reported that errors driven by manual processes are one of the biggest challenges in their current coding and marking environment. Furthermore, 69% of companies surveyed said they use multiple vendors for coding and marking at their plants or facilities. 

A leap forward in the automation journey 

Traditionally, companies have relied on proprietary software provided by printer manufacturers, resulting in the use of multiple solutions depending on the hardware being utilized. Consequently, businesses have faced significant challenges when it comes to driving marking and coding devices within an environment characterized by a diverse mix of print technologies and associated software from different manufacturers. 

However, through the advancement of cloud-based technologies, companies can now deploy their marking and coding equipment within a unified intelligent factory operation. As part of this, companies can utilize a standardized and centralized platform for all their labeling requirements, which offers integration capabilities to manage output for all their devices. By adopting such a solution as part of a cloud-first strategy, businesses gain printing flexibility, accuracy, and efficiency to improve their bottom line and support global growth. 

This is echoed by recent VDC Research, which states that “organizations are considering making the transition from manually operating each device to automating synchronization of print jobs and coding data to remove the ‘human element.’ This will involve integrating coding and marking solutions with their enterprise systems to enable seamless communication and data sharing for enhancing overall operational efficiencies.” 

Learn more about Loftware’s top trends for 2023 

For more information about Loftware’s Top 5 Trends 2023, download the full report for free. Additionally, you can watch a recording of the ‘2023 Top 5 Trends in Labeling & Packaging Artwork’ webinar here.   

  • Cloud
  • Supply Chain