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Reduce Indirect Costs with Next-Generation Labeling

by Ken Moir | SAPinsider, Volume 18, Issue 1

January 27, 2017

Labeling is a mission-critical process for many organizations. If labels aren’t printed correctly, products aren’t shipped, leading to major disruption in the supply chain that can not only affect the bottom line, but also a company’s reputation. This article shows you how to use label management tools with your SAP system to meet the needs of a real-time supply chain while eliminating errors, enhancing agility, reducing costs, and increasing customer satisfaction.

For many organizations, labeling is a mission-critical process. If labels aren’t printed, products aren’t shipped. Indirect costs associated with non-compliance or a decentralized labeling system can be disastrous to the bottom line as well as a company’s reputation. Introducing errors can harm the brand, run the risk of hefty fines or even lost business, and stifle a company’s ability to respond to change requests or otherwise satisfy its customers in a timely fashion.

SAP customers using modern label management systems that integrate with a back-end system are mitigating some of the risks associated with decentralization by shifting the control and management of label creation and change requests from the IT organization to newly empowered business users. This helps eliminate many of the inefficiencies arising from having to rely on IT-developed SAPscript or Smart Forms to satisfy change management requests and avoid duplication. It also moves organizations away from manual quality checks and other antiquated legacy processes that are inadequate for today’s fast-moving businesses and modern supply chains.

Direct Integration with the SAP Back-End System

At some point, however, even a modern label management system struggles to keep pace with the demands of a real-time supply chain because of the time it takes to set up seamless integrations with a back-end system. Many companies accept basic integration with SAP systems, with limitations and performance requirements that don’t meet the speed and quality assurance needs of today’s supply chain. Some companies try to overcome these limitations by programming SAP system integrations in house because the alternative — sending master data via the spooler to a middleware label management system for printing without previewing the finished label combined with the master data — results in reduced accuracy for most labeling processes. In-house ABAP programming of a seamless integration with the label management system that supports label preview inside SAP systems may take several months, but the trade-off is that it provides companies with the ability to see their SAP master data with their label templates, which in turn prevents error and provides agility, consistency, and faster on-demand printing capability.

Label management systems move organizations away from manual quality checks that are inadequate for today’s supply chains.

Helping companies avoid having to make this trade-off is the basis for NiceLabel’s next-generation integration with SAP systems, which enables label template previews with master data and true on-demand instant printing of labels, all directly within the SAP system user interface (UI). In addition to a much faster time to value, this best-practice solution provides SAP customers with real-time print status feedback and confirmed print delivery. Rather than months of programming, NiceLabel’s ABAP package can be transported to an SAP system within seconds.

All-in-One Label Management

NiceLabel’s ABAP package is included in NiceLabel LMS Enterprise, NiceLabel’s label management system, which provides users with a label designer, a document management system (DMS), an integration system, a web printing system, non-production environments, and a change and transport system (CTS). This means organizations can rapidly take advantage of the best practices built into the ABAP package while business users can quickly make customer-specific configurations, all without looping in an IT organization to make the changes for them.

By taking advantage of these next-generation label management tools, SAP customers can significantly reduce or even eliminate the indirect costs of decentralized labeling processes, including reworking mislabeled products, costs associated with interrupting operations to reprint labels, and unplanned downtime. When added up, these indirect costs can significantly impact the bottom line. And then there’s the direct cost of the labor-intensive deployment and ABAP programming to integrate a back-end system with a label management system as well as extra labor for quality assurance. 

The elimination of errors, enhanced agility, reduced costs, and increased customer satisfaction are among the many benefits companies of any size that depend on labeling can reap from giving this mission-critical process its due. For more information, go to www.nicelabel.com/SAP.

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Ken Moir
Ken Moir

VP of Marketing
NiceLabel



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