INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS | Great Lakes Wine & Spirits

Problem

Great Lakes Wine & Spirits, Michigan’s largest alcoholic beverage wholesaler, and servicing liquor stores, markets, gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores in all 83 Michigan counties, was determined to find a method to reduce mis-picking. An inefficiency common to the industry, mis-picks result in mis-labelled merchandise and/or loading merchandise on the wrong trucks for delivery.

GLW&S prints direct thermal carton labels containing critical item and delivery information. The labels are then hand-applied to corrugated cases by warehouse employees. Each morning, warehouse employees pick cases based on the daily order queue and route them to the appropriate truck for delivery.

When mis-picks occur, the products ordered do not match the products delivered. The cost of each deviation is very high. Products have to be returned to the warehouse and repacked or rerouted, and the correct order has to be redelivered. 

Solution

After careful analysis, GLW&S determined that their picking errors were primarily due to the limitations of traditional direct thermal printing. Because all labels contained black ink and graphics, there was no clear method for identifying critical information contained in the label. Important item numbers and routing information did not stand out. One label looked like another.

Enter the Metcom team, which proposed a new technology that enabled the customer to design and designate text or graphic areas on the label in color! The patented technology is called RevealPrint, which allows the user to thermal print designated text, images, and graphics in color! RevealPrint labels are compatible with all traditional direct thermal printers, and feature improved scuff, fade and moisture resistance compared to standard direct thermal materials.

To devise the most efficient and functional labeling solution, the Metcom support team undertook an extensive testing and design process with the IT department at GLW&S. Several label formats and color schemes were tested before GLW&S settled on a design. While the labels are still white when they arrive at GLW&S, heat from the thermal printer “reveals” the ink colors embedded in the label stock. Each color represents a unique instruction to the picking team concerning the packing and routing of merchandise. In addition, die-cut corner tabs were added to make it easier for pickers to remove each label.   

Impact

Since implementing RevealPrint labels, GLW&S has experienced a dramatic decrease in the costly process of repacking, rerouting, and redelivering merchandise. Warehouse employees can now easily and quickly identify critical information on the label, which not only helps prevent deviations, but also saves time. In addition, die cut corner tabs were added Management is thrilled with the improved customer satisfaction as well as the savings in money and time.

​“The Metcom customer service is just excellent. They’re not afraid to question me to make sure that our communication is clear. It’s like they’re watching out for me. The impression I get is that they really care about me and my company.”

Paula Kasprzyk
Senior Purchasing Agent, Levy Co.

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