Grant Industries prides itself on providing specialty performance ingredients to the personal care and beauty industry within a relatively short turnaround time. As Grant Industries continued to grow, the company realized its labeling system was no longer working to keep up with operations.
“Our labels were created in the office with a single computer and printer, which was several hundred feet away from the finished goods waiting to ship,” says Casey Heemskerk, operations manager at Grant Industries.
An employee would have to walk to the finished product, document the information needed and hand off the information to office personnel to create the labels. The labels were created using a template with pre-printed labels, then printed with the office multifunction printer (MFP). From there, the employee would walk back to label the product for shipment.
Heemskerk continues, “This process was not only time consuming for employees, but also resulted in missing designated ship dates. Something had to change.”
Knowing it needed a new system for labeling, Grant Industries sought out help from its technology partner Integrated Productivity Systems (IPSi), a company dedicated to working with manufacturing and distribution companies to re-engineer workflows by designing and deploying new business processes.
IPSi helped Grant Industries identify that a mobile approach was the solution – the ability to create a label in proximity to the product would be a significant improvement to their process.
“IPSi streamlined our process with a dynamic and flexible labeling system that integrates BarTender Label Software by Seagull Scientific with our Chemical Management System for on-demand color label printing on the shop floor and warehouse using Epson ColorWorks C831 industrial-strength inkjet label printers,” adds Heemskerk. “And all of this was in combination with the Newcastle Systems mobile-powered workstation that could easily be moved around the floor.”
“The Epson ColorWorks printer can run for up to two days before the Newcastle Systems mobile-powered cart needs to be charged, making the system the ideal solution for on-demand finished goods labeling,” Heemskerk.
Enter the mobile workstation
Grant Industries’ cosmetic clients naturally require dynamic labels – incorporating lot numbers, customer codes, addresses, logos and more. IPSi introduced Grant Industries to the Epson ColorWorks solution not only for its high-quality prints, but also because of its low power usage.1
One challenge for the mobile carts has always been the need to power battery-draining devices.
“Many thermal label printers draw a lot of power,” says Rick Schilling, president, Integrated Productivity Systems. “The Epson ColorWorks printer can run for up to two days before the Newcastle Systems mobile-powered cart needs to be charged, making the system the ideal solution for on-demand finished goods labeling.”
Heemskerk testifies to the power of the mobile solution, calling it a workhorse.
“These printers are solid, working in extreme heat and cold in the warehouse – they don’t skip a beat,” says Heemskerk. “We put the printers through the paces – they get dirty and we obviously move them around a lot. They constantly print quality labels. We would never want to send a mediocre product, and we know that won’t happen with the ColorWorks – the labels are top notch and we can count on the printer.”
Relying on mobile for the future
Ultimately the mobile solution has changed the workflow for Grant Industries – it has improved turnaround times and operational efficiency, and the team can be more productive with the mobile approach.
"Now, we have a streamlined system in place – from the products being placed into our shipping queue, to labeling, to shipment preparation. And when a customer requires specific updates to their labels, we don’t dread the task and are confident we can fulfill their needs, thanks to this solid and scalable solution,” adds Heemskerk.
“The mobile cart solution has enabled us to bring more technology onto the floor, which has been a game changer for us,” says Heemskerk. “We’ve significantly boosted our turnaround times, on-time shipments and customer communication. Implementing this mobile technology solution ultimately enables us to perform that much better.”