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Labels On Tap at Stone’s Beer & Beverage Market

Beer has been around for a long time (according to Google, about 7,000 years), but the number of people drinking beer as a hobby has increased immensely over the last 20 years.  As you can see in the graph below, the number of breweries has risen to meet the challenge of creating a beer for every pallet.

As the quantity of craft breweries in the US continues to head steadily skyward, it becomes easier to be a beer enthusiast but harder to become a beverage retailer.  Shelves that used to hold cases of the same five beers are being replaced with dozens of different types- often changing based on availability due to seasonal or limited production runs!  Fortunately for beer enthusiasts, distributors like Stone’s Beer & Beverage Market (Philadelphia, PA) are stepping up to meet the challenge, featuring hard-to-find brews from across the world and local delivery services.

But… How can a distributor like Stone’s be expected to keep up with an environment that requires new shelf tags and labels printed day by day, on demand?

With the efficiency of an Epson C3500, the flexibility of BarTender Labeling Software, and the reliability of an IPSi solution.  That’s how.

But first, let’s discuss how not to print labels.

When Nick (Owner) and Andres (Supply Chain Specialist) first reached out to us, they were in a position that we have seen before.  Printing single labels was more than a chore, it was a time sink.  From beginning to end, their process was:

  • Manually fill in the information in an Excel sheet label template.
  • Print the sheet to a laser printer.
  • Cut the 2” x 1” label out from the 8.5” x 11” page (the rest is wasted).
  • Turn on the laminating machine, wait 5 minutes for it to warm up.
  • Laminate the labels.

All in all, the process took about 7 minutes for each label, and they print up to 600 labels per month.  Not only did it take too much time, but training was required for each employee that was expected to print!

This method of printing was everything we try to avoid when developing a solution, and everything had to change. Starting from the bottom, we knew that their volume and graphic requirements would be met by the Epson Colorworks TM-C3500 inkjet color label printer.  The ability to automatically cut labels to length allows them to meet the size requirements of several different label formats, which means they only need to stock one type of roll!  In this case, a 4” wide matte paper tag stock would give them the flexibility they needed, while being durable enough that lamination would become a thing of the past.  Let’s not forget, this also eliminates all of the waste of cutting a single label from an 8.5”x11” sheet every time they print.

We sat down together and created a sample of their database in Excel, gathering four or five records (one per product) and ensuring that there was a column for each piece of data required by each item.  This would allow us to use BarTender Labeling Software to seamlessly implement all of the available data into a single label format.  Instead of a thousand labels for a thousand items, there would be one single label that has the capability to dynamically render information based on the selected record.

Using features from the BarTender suite also allowed us to include an intuitive print form, implemented through Print Station, that eliminated the need for in-depth training for any employee using the application, and reduced print time to less than 30 seconds.

Stone’s Beer & Beverage Market new system brings their branding to the shelves and greatly improves the customer experience, especially in a store with such a wide selection of beverages.  It is a prime example of what IPSi can do with the power of a BarTender label solution, and further proof that the Epson Colorworks C3500 inkjet color label printer is at home in any environment.

About Integrated Productivity Systems LLC (IPSi):  IPSi specializes in optimizing mission-critical business processes around enterprise label printing and barcoding data collection in manufacturing and distribution companies.  Our areas of expertise include fixing inefficient workflows in product and shipping label generation, mobile barcode data collection, inventory and warehouse management,  automated label application, and automated bagging and labeling of finished goods.  By helping companies streamline and re-engineer mission-critical workflows, our customers are able to reduce costs, eliminate errors, and sustain flexible and scalable operations.  We are passionate about helping our customers leverage technology to develop simple, cost-effective systems that ensure their operations run efficiently all day, every day.  IPSi's Website

About BarTender® by Seagull Scientific:  Every year, the world’s largest and most dynamic supply chains in every industry trust BarTender to create and print over 40 billion of the labels, barcodes, documents, and RFID that keep their products moving, traceable and safe. With corporate headquarters and software development in Bellevue, Washington, USA, and branch offices in Madrid, Taipei and Tokyo.

BarTender is available in more than 150 countries through a global network of local partners.  Learn more at Seagull Scientific.

 About Epson ColorWorks: Epson’s line of ColorWorks inkjet color label printers has transformed the way business print across countless industries including food & beverage, pharmaceutical, and retail.  Their wide range of price points and capabilities create the flexibility and accessibility that helps them find their homes in business of all sizes.  Epson ColorWorks Website
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