But, as companies strive to deliver efficiency savings and accelerate speed-to-market, more and more businesses are recognizing the benefits of Just in Time (JIT) labeling and adapting their production methodologies accordingly. The question remains: is this the right approach? Is JIT labeling the only way forward, or just another tool in the box?
There is little doubt that JIT printing is a major advancement for medical device production labeling and distribution. The environmental drivers for its increased uptake are significant. As labeling processes become more complex and organizations seek to expand their global customer-base, medical devices are now being shipped across many countries and many continents. Such international distribution not only brings with it the challenge of customizing labels to suit a multiplicity of local languages, it places increased pressure on the need to make certain that local distribution centers can understand requirements to ensure that the right label goes on the right product. Throw in the added complication of variable international labeling regulations, and an already complex environment becomes increasingly difficult – and potentially more expensive.
Real-time labeling is helping organizations to minimize overall labeling costs, streamline processes and reduce the resources and manpower required to manage label production and inventory management. Furthermore, it’s helping companies reduce the waste and costs associated with producing and storing pre-printed labels, only to have them become obsolete when regulations or customer needs changed unexpectedly. Such reductions also mitigate the risk of unwanted, damaged or surplus labels being stolen or inadvertently used on the wrong products – which can have harmful implications to customer reputation and, of course, human health.
As part of an automated, end-to-end label lifecycle management system, JIT printing gives companies greater control over their labels – providing robust validation and automated checkpoints to ensure that errors are avoided.
JIT labeling clearly has many benefits – but it is unlikely to replace traditional methodology and become the only game in town. The approach has undoubted advantages, particularly when used in distribution centers or for labeling where the final destination presents foreign language or unique regulatory requirements. JIT labeling is another tool in the box for medical device manufacturers when distributing their products but significant one that should be considered when streamlining process and driving efficiencies.