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From SCDigest's OnTarget e-Magazine
- Feb. 27, 2013 -
RFID and AIDC News: Two-Sided Printing Solution Can Solve Problem of Matching Carton Shipping Label with Packing Slip
Duplex Label Construction Works with Select Thermal and Laser Printers, and May Reduce Costs and Improve Security
SCDigest Editorial Staff
The solution has been around since 2009, but a unique label construction from a company called Premier Print and Services Group that just might solve a long-standing problem for many distribution centers is finally starting to get some recognition in the market.
The carton shipping label and the packing slip could be automatically applied with complete shipping label-packing slip integrity and no further need to touch the box for either document.
The product, which inventor Bruce Raming calls the "DuplexPackSlip," enables "duplex" or dual-sided printing on either thermal or laser printers that have such capabilities, and thus the ability to print the packing slip on the underside of the shipping label that will be placed on a carton.
The result? An end to the cost and occasional errors associated with trying to match the printed carton label with a printed packing slip, and enhanced product security from keeping the packing slip with the carton contents more hidden from prying eyes.
The design for the new age labels, which Supply Chain Digest saw for the first time at this year's ProMat show in Chicago in mid-January, was actually created all the way back in the late 1990s, with a patent issued to Raming and label manufacturing partner Ward/Kraft Inc. in 2001. However, it took a decade to gain real support from printer manufacturers and the market.
There is a both a truly two-sided version of the label and another that is printed one-side, after which the top (packing slip part) is folder under the carton label, but for now we will focus on the truly duplex version.
The process is naturally dependent on having a duplex thermal or laser printer. Those that have only single sided printing can use that other "fold under" version of the label.
In the duplex version, the overall label construction is 5 inches by 8 inches, but with a traditional 4 x 6-inch area "cut out" on the front of the label. That same area becomes the printable zone on the back of the label. Traditional shipping information and required bar codes are printed on the front area, and a packing slip is printed on the back.
As shown in our video from ProMat below, after printing a distribution center operator removes the backing from label construction, exposing the adhesive the runs around the outside of the label, around the non-sticky, printable area where the packing slip is. That label is then applied to the carton.
Premier Print Shows Patented Systems for Dual-Sided
Printing of Shipping Label and Packing Slip
After shipping, the receiving company or individual removes the 4 by 6 area of the label by easily tearing the perforation at the top of the label (that perf holds the label in place on the box - the other three sides are just pre-cut), and, voila, there is the packing slip.
The packing slip can be printed on the "liner" material on the backside of the label directly when using thermal transfer technology (which uses a thermally sensitive print ribbon). Surprisingly, Technocote is said to provide a special liner that works as a "direct thermal" material (hear sensitive paper), with the front of the label regular direct thermal label stock, if a company wants to move go in that direction to eliminate the need for a ribbon in the printer.
The benefits? There are potentially several, depending on the application. For example:
Reduced Labor Costs: Only one label needs to be applied, versus applying a shipping label and then stuffing a separately printed packing slip in a plastic sleeve. There is also time spent making sure the packing slip matches the label.
Fewer Errors: Sometimes, the matching exercise fails, and the wrong packing slip winds up on the wrong box or no packing slip goes with the carton. Since the carton must have a shipping label, this duplex approach ensures the correct packing slip is with the box.
(RFID and AIDC Story Continued Below)
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Opportunities for Full Automation: As Fox IV Technologies offers an automated printer-applicator with duplex thermal printing (using two thermal print engines), both the carton shipping label and the packing slip could be automatically applied with complete shipping label-packing slip integrity and no further need to touch the box for either document.
Increased Security: The only way a potential thief could look at the packing slip to see what is inside the box is to tear off the shipping label, which is immediately noticeable.
Other Potential Cost Reductions: Other potential savings include the elimination of the plastic sleeves for traditional packing slips, and possible removal of one printer from the set up a company currently uses.
Special Duplex Label Construction has Shipping Label
on One Side and Packing Slip on the Back
There are a number of duplex laser printers available on the market. In addition to the Fox IV print and apply machine, Sato now offers a duplex tabletop thermal printer, and there is a small direct thermal printer from Toshiba that can also work. The special duplex labels are available in both roll and fanfold form for thermal printing, in addition to a laser printer form factor.
NCR is one large label vendor that has really been pushing this system as a solution, though Raming says all resellers have to buy the labels from Ward/Kraft, which has exclusive manufacturing rights.
"This is a very interesting solution that clearly does address a persistent industry cost and challenge," says SCDigest Materials Handling Editor Cliff Holste. "The automated print and apply solution seems especially attractive. That said, this label will be more expensive than a traditional 4 x 6 label plus a laser printed packing list, so companies just need to run the numbers, factoring in total materials and labor costs."
Do you see potential for this dual shipping label/packing slip? Let us know your thoughts on this new product at the Feedback button below (email) or the Feedback section (web form).