Piroto Labelling Ltd
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National Foodservice Provider reduces their label wastage to near zero

The Customer

Our customer is a major foodservices company providing meals to schools, colleges and restaurants on a national basis. At their dedicated ambient warehouse and distribution centre they need to track some 14,000 food and non-food items in and out per day.

The scale of their set up means that accuracy is paramount, yet their operation was being compromised daily due to the poor performance of goods in labels and picking labels sourced, off-the- shelf, from an existing supplier.

The Customer's Challenge

Like most foodservice companies, our client used goods-in labels to record deliveries from suppliers, and printed picking labels to identify out-going customer orders. They had recently upgraded their labelling system which meant a shift from labels supplied on a roll, to labels supplied on A4 sheets.

Initially the new process seemed to be working well but soon problems arose; printers jammed, print smudged and labels became dislodged. This caused the Shift Manager and Operations Manager no end of challenges throughout the entire operation. The print room struggled to maintain consistency and label wastage was high due to the number of re-prints, pickers were delayed by illegible labels and delivery drivers were faced with unhappy customers unable to identify their items.

The foodservices provider spoke to Piroto about the issues they were experiencing and asked the team to work on a solution.

Our Approach

Our first move was to arrange a site visit so that we could experience the process from start to finish and identify any potential pitfalls and sticking points for ourselves.

During our visit we observed that the labels needed to adhere to multiple surfaces, for example, cardboard boxes, polythene outers and delivery cages. We found out that, during storage, the A4 label sheets started to curl at the edges which we linked to the source of the printer jam. It was hardly surprising that the standard, off-the-shelf label that was being used was not up to the job.

Once we had identified all the label properties that needed improving, we explored every aspect from backing material to adhesive options and label presentation.

Drawing on our experience of working across the food sector we were able to put together the right combination of materials to produce a solution that would prove to be effective across the full range of applications.

What we delivered

Since one of the key issues for the customer was non adhesion of the labels, the first step was to specify an appropriate adhesive that was tested across multiple surfaces and in various conditions.

The second issue to be address was illegible picking labels; this was causing pickers to lose time, plus lots of labels were being wasted due to multiple reprints. Here Piroto tested several matt label materials which were especially ink receptive and give a clearer overprint image; selecting the best one for the job.

Finally, the team needed to solve the curling label conundrum which was, in turn, causing the printers to jam. By introducing a kraft backing, with superior strength and excellent lay-flat properties, Piroto was able to achieve the A4 sheet format required by the customer’s Central Purchasing team, whilst meeting the Operations Manager’s need for trouble-free picking label printing.

The last part in the process was to test the labels for a week on one specific delivery run. After a final assessment of their performance, and excellent feedback from the customer, the new labels were rolled out across the entire delivery network.

The Impact on the Customer's Business

Through working in partnership with Piroto the operation has experienced significant improvements in the process and made saving. In summary, the customer has benefited in a number of areas:

  • Consistently clear, unambiguous identification of items has improved the picking process which, in turn, has reduced operational costs
  • Similarly, operational improvements have led to savings in the goods-in area and printing department
  • Cost savings have been achieved by reducing annual label usage through significantly cutting wastage
  • 100% intact labels have enhanced the delivery experience; leading, not only to improved efficiency, but also to increased customer satisfaction
  • The Shift Manager reports fewer issues overall and happier staff!