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For a lot of warehouses, proper labeling is considered the solution to a lot of common problems with your inventory.

Ask any warehouse manager about the sort of things they run into every day, like missing items, mis-picked shipments, or frequent miscounts, and labels are often the suggested resolution to these problems. But what are you supposed to do if the labels themselves are the issue?

That’s right, the almighty label is just as prone to accidents and mishaps as we humans are, and it can take a long time to notice what these mishaps are causing – or how to resolve it.

Sounding familiar? Here’s a few of our favorite ways to prevent the most common labeling issues we see in warehouses:


Resolving Inventory Labeling Issues


The Issue: Damaged Labels

More often than not, the root of any issue arising from labels is because of damage to the labels themselves. No matter how informative or cleverly-designed your labels may be, they’re going to face a ton of wear and tear throughout the warehouse just like anything else does. This damage can lead to incorrect scans, difficult-to-read information, and even mispicks in many cases. 

The Solution: Label protection

Luckily, this is a pretty easy issue to solve. By using shelf label holders throughout the warehouse, you can minimize the damage done to these labels through day-to-day contact with things like crates, pallets, and forklifts. This will not only keep your labels more readable and easier to scan over time, it can also potentially deliver the long-term benefits of preventing miscounts and helping your staff find needed items more quickly!


The Issue: Too Many Employees Labeling Products At Once

While it’s always good to help spread out the workload between teams or staff members, this can create issues with how labeling is being done. If your team (or even your entire warehouse!) has inconsistent guidelines and practices for labeling, it could lead to a lot of confusion between team members, and could contribute to mispicks, item shortages, or accidental shrinkage if something isn’t reported correctly.

The Solution: Consistent and clear guidelines

The only true solution for this is to make sure your entire team – at every step of the process – is taught the same process for making labels, every time. Not only can this avoid any confusion by making sure your teams all use the same language, abbreviations, and date format, it can also help with safety regulations by ensuring that information like expiration dates or sensitive product handling is conveyed clearly, and correctly. This may require that you re-label your warehouse from top to bottom, but it’ll be well worth it in the long run.


The Issue: Awkward Label Design

Of course, all the team cohesiveness in the world is only going to help so much if the labels themselves aren’t easy to read, understand, or work with. A lot of mistakes like miscounts and mispicks can stem from the fact your labels just aren’t legible or clearly designed to begin with, and a lack of needed information – or an overabundance of unnecessary information – will just make it harder on your team down the road.

The Solution: Revamped label design

If your team is all on the same page when it comes to scanning the labels, but issues are still cropping up, it may be time to revisit how your labels look. Are the QR/IR codes too small, or hard to scan in some way? Are the item names or SKUs obscured or hard to read? Are they made out of a material that peels off too quickly, or makes them hard to scan? It might be time to put up the money to redesign and reprint your labels – but imagine how happy you’ll be when things in your warehouse get scanned right the first time. 


The Issue: Inaccessible Labels

As time goes by, and warehouse layouts change, some labels can become hard to reach. New racks pop up, old racks get moved around or built out, and suddenly the labels on your pallet racks are too hard to access, leading to item mis-picks and things getting overlooked. 

The Solution: Reorganize with labels in mind

We know, we know – when you’re in the middle of a warehouse project, the last thing you want to do is sweat the small stuff like the placement of your labels. It can, however, save you a lot of time and energy to plan on these label placements right off the bat. Got some new racks or shelves coming in? Figure out what side is going to face ‘out’ and plan to label those shelves for your team. Revamping an old shelf? Print up brand new labels and save yourself the headache of trying to salvage the old ones – this will let you place them more easily, too!


Hopefully, a few of these tips can help you avoid the old familiar headaches when it comes to inventory labeling – and maybe it’ll help cut down on some of the other headaches in your warehouse, too!

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