Label Kitting: Saves Time, Money and Errors on the Production Line

Label Kitting:
Saves Time, Money and Errors on the Production LineA missing equipment decal can bring an entire production line to its knees – particularly if the decal is a mandated safety warning. If the label’s out of stock, production is halted until a new batch of labels arrives.

Ensuring you have the right decals, at the right place, at the right time is crucial. But it’s often a juggling act. Inventory shortages can lead to added costs arising from quick label turnaround, while stocking too many can lead to confusion, waste, hoarding and spoilage.

Fortunately, a practice known as label “kitting” provides a highly effective solution.A Simple Idea that Saves Time and Worry

Label kitting is a simple concept that saves both time and worry. How? All the labels that must be applied to a piece of equipment or machinery are printed on a single sheet – or are packaged in one bag. Either way, by combining a full collection of decals into one convenient package, you can streamline the inventory process, speed up production and application, and reduce costs and waste in your operation. Because of the efficiencies involved, label kitting has become a best practice for lean manufacturing. And it’s so easy to use, training takes just minutes.

Before you order your next collection of decals, consider the pros and cons of a kitting solution.

The Pros: Easy to Use and Boost Productivity

Label kits are easy to use. The labels are arranged on the sheet in the order to best utilize the space and material and we will assist in the arrangement to most efficiently utilize the material. Before kitting, companies typically ordered a mix of labels from multiple vendors. The colors, finishes and adhesive were inconsistent; with kitting, consistency is guaranteed.

But kitting’s biggest benefit is the huge potential for cost savings. Time is money, and kitting can help you boost productivity and efficiency on the shop floor. Instead of searching for ten decals and hoping they find them all, employees simply grab a single packet, spending more time working and less time chasing decals.

Another key benefit is improved accuracy and better inventory management. Ordering entire kits versus individual decals streamlines ordering. What’s more, kitted materials stay together so you always have what you need, and they’re easier to store in a protected environment. Individual decals are easily lost or misplaced, and with many looking alike, they may be stored in the wrong locations and placed on the wrong equipment, leading to costly errors and safety hazards.

Lastly, kitting provides a built-in quality check on the assembly line; employees will immediately know if there are any decals left on the sheet consolidation or in the packaged bag. We have also found that printing a diagram in the blank space will act as a work instruction for proper placement of the decals.

The Cons: Can Lead to Added Costs and Waste

Despite the benefits, kitting isn’t the right solution for every situation. For example, if you’re unable to provide your supplier with all the decals necessary for a kit — or if your supplier doesn’t have the proper quality checks in place to verify the right decals are included every time — kitting probably isn’t right for you.

Similarly, if your operation involves a large number of custom orders or variable build requirements, other part consolidation options may be more effective than kitting.

Decals produced in foreign languages present another challenge. A manufacturer producing equipment for both the U.S. and French markets, for example, may require decals in both English and French. Including both languages when only one set is needed for each machine is wasteful and means excess production costs. And since employees are often hesitant to discard unused decals, that can lead to inventory space challenges and workstation clutter.

Determining the Best Approach for Your Operation

What’s the best way to determine if kitting can make a difference in addressing your floor shop challenges?

After you review the pros and cons outlined above, consider conducting a needs analysis assessment of your inventory management system. This detailed process helps determine how many people access your inventory; identifies what items are stored and where; reviews shelf life and temperature control requirements; and analyzes stocking quantities.

And regardless of whether kitting is the right solution for your operation, a detailed analysis can help you identify opportunities to streamline operations, improve accuracy and save money.

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