In addition to budgetary justification, migrating a manual tire tread labeling process to an automated one takes some time and consideration. But how do you know if automation is even a path you should consider? The following list are the 10 scenarios through which a Chromaffix automated tire tread labeling system would aim to add tangible business benefits:
10 Reasons Why Automated Tread Labeling Might Be Right For You:
- If the tires you're producing or tracking are headed into the distribution channel
- If you're a manufacturer, distributor, or logistics provider of passenger tires
- If you're struggling with the EU tire label legislation
- If you're spending too much time or effort on manual labor
- If you've experienced (or worry you will experience) tires that have been wrongly labeled
- If you're planning for Industry 4.0 or are looking to future-proof your processes
- If you're struggling to label tires at rates anywhere near that of production
- If you have strategic growth goals and manual labor is slowing you down
- If branding and differentiation among competitors at the retail level is a challenge or goal
- If the costs and time associated with errors and rework are significant enough to have you wondering if there is a better way...
1. If the tires you’re producing or tracking are headed into the distribution channel
Not every manufactured tire requires a tread label, but tires that are destined for third party logistics or retail through a distribution process undoubtedly require a means of product identification in the form of a tread label. Ensuring tread labels communicate both accurate consumer safety and product information is of the utmost importance. Automating the tread labeling process leaves less room for error or discrepancy, meaning tires arrive where they need to, and communicate what they need to.
2. If you’re a manufacturer, distributor, or logistics provider of passenger tires
Like we mentioned above, not all tires necessarily merit a tread label. But be assured that if you are the manufacturer, distributor, or logistics provider of passenger tires, tread labels are an absolute must from both a product identification and safety communication standpoint. Simply put, tires in transport from one place to another need to be easily identified and tracked, and the tread label is the best way to accomplish that.
3. If you’re struggling with the EU tire label legislation
Everyone loves legislation, right? All kidding aside, having to include specific bits of information on tread labels can make manual application seem a little risky. Imagine the operator accidentally applies the wrong tread label to a tire. Not only is the product information associated with that tire completely inaccurate, but the incorrect consumer safety data could cause liability concerns.
A good label automation system utilizes a scan bridge to extract data from the bead barcode label to help generate the associated tread label. Leveraging a secondary scanning system to verify the labels adds another layer of safety to ensure that every tire is accurately labeled with information related to consumer safety like wet grip and noise.
4. If you’re spending too much time or effort on manual labor
‘Too much time or effort’ is a relative term that can only be quantified with some serious math. Luckily for you, we’ve done the math. If you’re hand labeling upwards of ten million tires annually, from a cost standpoint you are spending far too much time and effort on manual labor.
Take into consideration the overhead cost factors like wages and insurance, and you’re easily spending more on the manual application of labeling than you probably want to be. Add to that the potential errors and waste associated with human intervention, and unplanned costs also add up quickly.
5. If you’ve experienced (or worry you will experience) tires that have been wrongly labeled
It sounds like an elementary problem: a tire with the wrong label. But in reality, a tread label that is wrongly associated with a tire can cause astronomical issues for multiple channels throughout the distribution and retail process. As the main intent of the tread label is to provide product-specific and consumer safety information, an error quickly leads to a tire that cannot be tracked, identified, or sold.
Logistic costs, the brand reputation, and the strain on partnerships can cause irreparable damage; all of which can be avoided through automating the tread labeling process. The key is the out-gate scanner, which verifies that what was intended to print actually did, and that it aligns with the original bead barcode source.
6. If you’re planning for Industry 4.0 or are looking to future-proof your processes
Rarely do manual processes support continuous improvement plans for growth or lean manufacturing. Especially as the tire industry shifts more towards Industry 4.0, manual processes for managing data and audit trails- like those associated with barcodes- are riskier than ever. Gaining complete control over elements like throughput speeds and data accuracy means greater visibility for the planning surrounding your entire manufacturing process.
Further, tread label automation that can be integrated straight into your process and interface with your database means that more decisions are able to be made based on analytics.
7. If you’re struggling to label tires at rates anywhere near that of production
It is not news that workflows and tire conveyor lines are likely to be faster and more consistent than that of humans. The entire speed and throughput rate of your plant is only as good as the weakest point within the process.
If tires are moving along at a consistently quick rate, only to be held up at a later point in the process by humans who simply cannot keep pace applying labels at the same rate, the automation at other points within your process is not being fully optimized. Ensure all your investments are being fully utilized by streamlining processes with automated systems at every stage possible. Working together, throughput will be increased and consistent.
8. If you have strategic growth goals and manual labor is slowing you down
Aiming to ramp your business but concerned about you will actually accomplish it? Particularly if your budget isn’t unlimited (and whose is!?), growth can actually be quite a challenge. Instead of looking at expensive ways to overhaul entire processes to accommodate for growth, an alternative approach can include providing a facelift to several seemingly small processes or work centers.
Tread labeling can easily be overlooked, especially since its at the end of the workflow process, or even sometimes performed off site by third party logistics partners. That being said, tread labeling often provides great opportunity to improve throughput and achieve greater accuracy. Consider the gains associated with migrating from a manual to automated process a large step towards greater growth goals.
9. If branding and differentiation amongst competitors at the retail level is a challenge or goal
How your brand appears on a retailers shelves are a far thought from the manufacturing floor. But consider this: when side by side with competitive tires, sometimes the only visual differentiator is that of the tread label itself. Tread label automation ensures that every label is applied in a straight orientation, in the center of the tire. Crooked, creased, or wonky-looking labels don’t tell a story of a professional brand. Ensure consumers perceive your brand to be one that takes great care at every level of the manufacturing, quality, and distribution process.
10. If the costs and time associated with errors and rework are significant enough to have you wondering if there is a better way…
Simply put, you might just be fed up with manual labeling, or thinking to yourself: “It's 2019! Why are we still handling labeling this way!?”. If that’s the case, know that you’re not alone, and rest assured that there is a better way! Until the recent launch of Computype’s Chromaffix system, other tread labeling systems did exist within the market, however none of them could be easily integrated to function with existing manufacturing lines. Automation such as this can be tailored to meet the exact goals and requirements of your facility, so be sure to consider customizations that will align with long term strategies.
So there you have it. If any of the above scenarios hit close to home, it might be time to explore the concept of automated tread label application. Investing in automated labeling will increase throughput, reduce errors, and ultimately align your data in a more controlled manner. While definitely a shift in process, tread label automation typically pays for itself in less than 1 year’s time.