Improving multiple label production control

Job tracking software saves 20 hours per week in labor and $15,000 per year in operating costs.

Label printer, converter, and fabricator Labels West, Inc., Woodinville, WA, specializes in the custom production of high-quality, multi-color adhesive labels, primarily for food, beverage, and personal care products. The company handles hundreds of labeling jobs simultaneously, and each job has its own drawings and specifications.

So whenever label specifications needed to be modified or added, the Labels West personnel ended up having to spend hours searching through job documentation folders to ensure that the proper revisions were made. This adjustment procedure often was time-consuming and costly.

To improve efficiencies, Labels West began researching job tracking solutions that incorporate barcode technology. The company decided to install the automated CheckMate job tracking system supplied by Dynamic Systems, Inc., a software developer that specializes in data collection. Installed in July 2010, the CheckMate JobData software runs on individual PCs on the plant floor. A Honeywell Voyager scanner is attached to the PCs for increased accuracy.

With the CheckMate software (installable on Windows™-based PCs), each barcode is printed and scanned as it moves through the system. Packaging managers are able to quickly locate and track the various job folders using the software’s “search” function. This automated approach easily saves 20 hours per week in labor versus the old system. Labels West estimates that these labor time savings equate to more than $15,000 annually. The company estimates its return on investment in the CheckMate software was about three months.

In addition to enabling labor cost savings, the CheckMate system’s reporting capability allows Labels West to manage job flow so that the company knows exactly where a job is in the production sequence and for how long it’s been there just by clicking a button. Knowing the exact location of a job allows Labels West to keep its customers well-informed about the status of a job run, including lead times and expected completion dates.

John Shanley, owner of Labels West, says, “We are very pleased with CheckMate. It installed easily, is stable, and the technical support is excellent. I would highly recommend this system. It does exactly what it is supposed to do.”

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