One way to improve your production line and coding efficiency

  • By Luigi Pistilli
  • January 13, 2016
  • Industry
  • General
  • Beverage
  • Food
  • Life Sciences
  • Industrial

Lost in translation...

Good communication is crucial in any business. But the buck doesn’t stop with your people. There should be good communication between your printers, coders, ERP and other business systems too. On thousands of factory floors, that’s not the case. And it causes frustrating and costly problems.

It’s inefficient to have coders and printers running on different software. And operators shouldn’t have to interact with each coder individually. It jams a handbrake on productivity, increases the chance of errors and presents challenges when it comes to training new staff.

Yet there’s an easy way to get all your systems speaking the same language.

Your systems need a conductor - think INTEGRATION.

Domino QuickDesign software is a package that simplifies coding operations by enabling coding and planning systems to work together. Think of it as a conductor for your coding orchestra: a single point of contact that unites your systems and ensures every element across your factory floor performs as it should.

Everything is on the same network and can communicate. The software links coders to a production server and enables access to other business systems, such as ERP, office computers and factory touchscreens. On paper, complicated. In practice, simple.

As you might imagine, it makes project management easier, improves production line efficiency and simplifies operator training. In a nutshell: a streamlined, error-free factory floor. And it can be scaled to work in factories of all sizes, with any number of production lines.

Why do codes matter?

From jars of coffee to smart TVs, codes are everywhere. Some take the form of human readable text (such as best before dates and serial numbers); others are readable only to machines (such as barcodes and QR codes). But the fact remains: codes are all pervasive.

These codes impart crucial information about the products they belong to. They enable food manufacturers to track batches. They identify electrical items. They allow manufacturers to offer promotions to consumers. And they underpin supply chain logistics, helping to make sure products get to the right place at the right time. They protect members of society from potential harm or placebos.

In short: they are crucial to the modern world. And they need to be accurate.

What happens when codes malfunction?

Coding demands 100% accuracy. Yet humans are inherently fallible, which means coding errors are inevitable. All it takes is a small error by an operator on a production line for things to start to go wrong. Even the simplest of mistakes can have big consequences, such as re-working, stock shortages and even fines.

Example: let’s say you manufacture a popular snack. The product is labelled, boxed, palletised and shipped. Then a retailer notices that a best before date has been mistyped. You need to recall the entire shipment, rework a new shipment and reschedule orders. If your product is highly perishable there are also costs associated with lost stock, not to mention the incalculable cost of damage to your reputation as a supplier.

It makes sense, then, to automate the coding process as much as possible. Less human involvement, less risk of errors. That’s where QuickDesign can make a big difference. Generic label templates can reduce the number of characters that must be entered by factory floor operatives. And having a centralised hub of data means operatives can gather auto-generated codes, mitigating the risk of mistyped or duplicated information.

How does QuickDesign work in practice?

The software setup is simple. QuickDesign is installed onto a production server, which creates a central database that houses all configuration for your systems: a hub from which you can control all printer and labeller activities for your site.

Label editors are installed onto office computers. You can design templates in minutes and send them to the production line at the touch of a button. Your office team can also create orders in your ERP system, with the details sent to QuickDesign ready for use.

You can track job progress too, with data fed back into ERP from your production line as pallets are scanned.

What it means for your business

Without doubt, factory floors can operate with their systems working in isolation. The point is that integrating your systems will improve efficiency and simplify your operations. Key data on print runs is at your fingertips whenever you need it. Project management is easier. And there are no more lost files or label templates. Just one cohesive system that brings greater control to your business.

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