Many of our customers assume they need to invest heavily in automation in order to optimize their barcoding strategy, however there are alternative options available.
The benefits of outsourcing your labeling process are something we heavily emphasize, When we discuss this topic we are often asked “What is outsourcing?” and “how do I know whether outsourcing is the right option for my needs?”
Here we’ll cover three of the top indicators that your lab could benefit from a barcode outsourcing solution. But first, let’s quickly discuss what barcode outsourcing is:
1. What does it mean to outsource your labeling process?
Most labs apply their labels in house either manually or with the help of automated equipment. While label automation can simplify your labeling process, it can be out of reach for many labs due to budget constraints, real estate limitations, etc.
Another option is to purchase labware pre-barcoded. Many manufacturers offer generic, pre-barcoded labware but off-the-shelf options can be too limited for many facilities.
When you work with an outsourcing partner you no longer need to worry about labeling in house, nor do you need to limit your options to what’s available in a catalog. Your partner will source, mark and deliver a made-to-order system directly to you.
Your outsourcing partner should discuss your needs, processes and goals with you to determine how they can best serve you. They may have additional marking technology options with increased durability, resolution and color capabilities that you might not have access to otherwise, or offer additional services such as tare weighing.
In the simplest of terms, outsourcing your labeling means your partner will label your labware to your specifications before it arrives at your lab.
As we clarified there are several ways you can go about labeling because there is no “one size fits all” solution. Below we list three situations where we’ve seen customers benefit from outsourcing their labeling:
1. Your company is experiencing incredible growth and cannot keep up with labeling
This is a common scenario for companies that decide to seek out an outsourcing program. Your business and employees specialize in science and research, not labeling labware, so spending large amounts of time on this task can seem like a waste of resources.
Especially when your company is experiencing great growth, it is necessary to spend more of your time focused on valuable laboratory processes, and less on the repetitive task of labeling.
On top of that, ensuring your labeling is done precisely and correctly is critical in a lab setting. With manual labor, precision is compromised and there is room for human error, which can impact processes throughout your lab.
If the data required on your labels is not real-time and can be predetermined, outsourcing is a great option for you. If your barcodes require information like date and lot codes, you can still expedite the process and boost accuracy through the implementation of label automation.
2. A ‘normal’ label will not accommodate the needs of the job
Another common challenge across the healthcare industry is that oftentimes samples require exposure to chemicals or harsh storage environments. A “normal” pressure sensitive label may not be able to survive these conditions. This is another scenario where outsourcing could prove beneficial for your business.
Pressure sensitive labels are your ‘normal’ hand-applied labels that are absolutely functional, but may not be able to perform to your standards under certain intense conditions without special engineering.
Direct mark for glass or plastic containers involves etching or printing and fusing barcodes directly onto the labware surface. This creates a near permanent, precisely placed mark capable of withstanding various harsh exposures.
Finally, ceramic ID labels are fired onto glass tubes or vials in a kiln, permanently bonding both pieces. Like direct mark, this option is able to endure extreme harsh environments or treatments while guaranteeing precision placement and accuracy, but it can only be applied to glass. Both direct mark and ceramic technologies are only available through an outsourcing program.
We offer these three marking technologies to insure the integrity of your samples no matter the intensity of your processes.
3. Your company needs to add color or other identifiers to your labware
Most outsourcing partners are going to be able to offer vivid color options. Whether you need a color-coding system, a logo, or even functional markings like grad lines, your supplier should be able to accommodate your needs.
Outsourcing offers many benefits by reducing the number of monotonous tasks in your lab and allowing your employees to focus on tasks that directly contribute to your mission.
An outsourcing program is a beneficial option if you are looking to increase throughput, reduce the amount of time high-skilled workers spend on low-skill work, decrease inevitable human errors, and increase data management.
Your partner should be aware of the standard procedures, regulations and effective solutions to the challenges you face so they can ensure a solution that frees your time, allowing you to focus on your goals. As a trusted outsourcing partner, we are happy to answer any questions you might have so feel welcome to ask!