Five Challenges of Chemical Manufacturer Labelling
Today’s chemical manufacturer is faced with a variety of requirements that complicate labeling and make many companies accept their current production process as the cost of doing business. But it’s not necessary. Here are five of the most common tagging challenges, as well as some useful tips and effective ways to overcome them.
Compliance with GHS and other regulatory requirements
Even in the United States, OSHA’s GHS label deadline comes and goes, and the company is still trying to comply. Countries and regions have also stipulated GHS international guidelines that must be observed. Of course, the challenge for GHS and other regulations is to manage all the information on each label. You need not only accurate data (including hazard statements and transaction data), but also a variety of symbols, color printing, products and containers of different sizes, and multiple languages.
Print and support different languages
The chemical supply chain is as complex and global as any industrial supply chain. Companies need to manage raw materials, feed stocks, commodity pricing, regulatory issues, and so on – both locally and internationally. In order to ensure the rapid and efficient transfer of products to upstream or downstream, the label must use the mother tongue of the receiving country. There may be other requirements on the label, depending on the destination. For example, China has special labeling requirements that, if not met, could lead to costly delays, fines, and even product returns.
In some cases, companies store specific SKUs for the same product in containers of the same size and use five different tags – each one meeting specific language and compliance requirements for different regions. Because of the way their systems are used, they have to print labels before shipping, which leads to rising costs of increasing inventory, warehousing and employee productivity.
Managing variable data on tags
Language is just one of the many changing elements in today’s chemical labels. Chemical manufacturers are increasingly being asked to meet additional customer requirements, from special handling instructions and area requirements to barcodes, logos, graphics and other brand elements. Depending on the company’s customer, supplier, ticket collector or 3PL base, this label change can be difficult to manage because some manufacturers may have hundreds of unique label templates that they must maintain and update. This will not only lead to inefficiency in time and labor, but also lead to costly mistakes.
Extend the label beyond the four walls
For many years, chemical manufacturers have been working hard to solve the problem of how to integrate distributors, fee collectors and other partners into their processes. Today, many companies use third parties as extensions of their own businesses to provide value-added services, such as direct delivery to customers. When it comes to labels, companies deal with third parties in a variety of ways – but often a difficult manual process. Many manufacturers still have the right to package and transport labels to partners or they pay labels for third party printing by external suppliers. If labels become obsolete over time, these options can be very expensive and wasteful.
Adapting to growth, M & A activities
The chemical industry is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years, according to a recent forecast by the U.S. chemical Commission. As companies seek to expand their business and add new equipment, it is more important than ever to standardize technologies and processes, including labels. A label solution has integrated enterprise applications such as ERP and PLM systems across multiple sites, which makes it easier to scale up and introduce new plants and users. The browser based capabilities of some tagging solutions further simplify the expansion to more users – even in the case of mergers or acquisitions.
Major players across the industry continue to acquire new companies, spin off independent businesses, or sell divisions. When these developments occur, one of the first things companies have to deal with is to integrate labels to reflect the appropriate marketing or brand information and to ensure the customer-oriented side. With standardized, centralized labeling solutions, chemical manufacturers can quickly and effectively design new labels, or better still, update existing templates to accommodate new acquisitions or departments. You can extract information from trusted data sources or use the same system to connect to new data sources to ensure the accuracy and consistency of new chemical labels.