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HomeProcurement/Supply Chain ManagementPackaging & Labeling for Smart and Secure Logistics

Packaging & Labeling for Smart and Secure Logistics

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The logistics business relies heavily on packaging and labeling as they are essential to the effective and secure delivery of products from producers to customers. Efficiency, sustainability, and traceability are significantly improving as the logistics environment changes due to developments in packaging and labeling technology. This blog examines the most recent developments in the industry and presents actual case studies of these inventions in use.

Let us first understand packaging and labeling:

Packaging is the science, art and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. It contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs and sells. 

Packaging consists of several different types:

  • Primary packaging is the material that first envelops the product and holds it, such as bottles, cans, and blister packs.
  • Secondary packaging is used to group primary packages, such as cardboard boxes and shrink wrap.
  • Tertiary packaging is designed for bulk handling and transportation, such as pallets and crates.

Examples of packaging materials include plastic, metal, glass, cardboard, wooden boxes, cellophane, cloth wrappers, paper bags, polythene bags, and styrofoam.

Now let us understand labelling:

Labeling refers to anything from a written text to an image, from a barcode to a symbol, which is affixed on the package or on the product itself. Labels provide essential information about the product, such as its name, ingredients, usage instructions, safety warnings, and branding.

Types of labels include:

(1) Product labels with product information

(2) Barcode labels for inventory management and tracking

(3) Brand labels showcasing the brand name and logo

(4) Nutritional labels displaying nutritional information

(5) Warning labels conveying safety information

(6) Security labels with anti-counterfeiting features

Labels must meet legal requirements and regulations regarding content accuracy, allergen information, and language requirements.

Packaging and labeling serve multiple purposes in the logistics chain, including:

Protection: Ensuring products are safeguarded against damage during transportation.

Identification: Facilitating quick and accurate identification of products.

Compliance: Adhering to regulatory requirements for shipping and handling.

Information: Providing essential information about the product, including handling instructions and expiry dates.

With the growth of e-commerce and global trade, the demands on packaging and labeling have intensified, prompting the need for innovative solutions.

Biodegradable Plastics: Companies are increasingly using biodegradable plastics made from renewable resources, reducing environmental impact.

Recycled Materials: Packaging made from recycled paper, cardboard, and plastics is becoming more common, helping to close the loop in the circular economy.

Edible Packaging: Innovative companies are exploring edible packaging solutions, especially in the food industry, to reduce waste.

The integration of technology into packaging has given rise to the concept of “smart packaging” and the “Internet of Packaging (IoP)”. Smart packaging utilizes technologies such as QR codes, RFID tags, and NFC to enhance brand-consumer interaction and provide real-time information about the product’s journey through the supply chain. 

Active and intelligent packaging technologies are being used to extend the shelf life of products and provide real-time information about product quality and safety. 

Standardized Units: Modular packaging designs allow for better space utilization in transportation, leading to cost savings and efficiency.

Customizable Solutions: Packaging that can be easily adjusted in size and shape to accommodate different products reduces the need for multiple packaging types.

QR Codes: Quick Response (QR) codes on labels provide instant access to detailed product information, including origin, ingredients, and safety data.

Blockchain Integration: Blockchain technology is being used to create tamper-proof labels that ensure the authenticity and traceability of products throughout the supply chain.

Soy-Based Inks: Labels printed with soy-based inks are more environmentally friendly than those using traditional petroleum-based inks.

Recyclable Adhesives: Innovations in adhesives ensure that labels can be easily removed and recycled, reducing contamination in recycling streams.

High-Visibility Labels: Reflective and fluorescent labels improve the visibility of packages, especially in low-light conditions, enhancing safety during handling.

Tamper-Evident Labels: Labels that show clear signs of tampering help protect products from unauthorized access and ensure consumer safety.

The packaging and labeling industry has undergone significant transformations in recent years, driven by the need for sustainability, innovation, and consumer engagement. From eco-friendly materials to smart packaging and automation, these advancements are shaping the future of logistics and enhancing the overall supply chain efficiency.

Also read: Sustainable Packaging and Its Importance in Supply Chain

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Shantanu Trivedi
Shantanu Trivedi
Shantanu Trivedi is working as a faculty at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun. He holds an MBA and a Ph.D. degree in Supply chain management. He has more than a decade of experience in teaching and research. He has published 2 books, 5 book chapters and more than 12 research papers and articles in international journals of repute. His research interest includes Supply chain management, agribusiness, online and distance education, Business sustainability and infrastructure management. He is the reviewer of many international publishing houses. He has presented his work and won awards at many research conferences and symposiums. He has worked on many research with state governments and the government of India. In his spare time, Shantanu loves to travel and explore nature.
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