How can coding and marking tech improve the supply chain

In an exclusive writeup for PrintWeek, Shiva Kabra, joint managing director, Control Print, charts the recent advancements in the coding and marking industry.

28 Dec 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

Shiva Kabra, joint managing director, Control Print

A company’s work does not end just with producing a product. The most crucial step is ensuring it has the proper packaging to reach its target audience safely and promptly. A suitable product has the most appropriate and effective packing, which conveys precise information about the contents of a package and lends itself to authenticity. The marking and coding equipment plays the most vital role at this juncture. Coding and marking essentially refers to printing variable information on product packaging during manufacturing, such as batch code, batch number, QR code, MRP, manufacturing date, expiry date, and more. 

Printing essential product details on any manufacturing product across sectors is now a regulatory mandate by the government. Given this, the coding and marking industry has seen a massive surge in business opportunities and is expected to grow at 10-15% in the next 2-3 years. The advancement of coding and marking has contributed to the country’s economy to a large extent, and this can only multiply in the coming years.

The Indian coding and marking systems market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 12%1 during 2021–2030, mainly due to the strict government regulations on product labelling and across-the-board traceability and anticounterfeiting requirements of various industries. Production, as well as demand, is expected to grow exponentially. As newer and novel industries adopt the latest coding and marking practices, this market is expected to boost significantly.

Coding and marking on products have become highly critical to the success of the entire supply chain and quality control process. The coding and marking industry have been helping big and small manufacturing firms to identify, track and trace their products and prevent counterfeiting of goods.

How can modern coding and marking tech improve the entire supply chain? 

Modern and more sophisticated coding and marking systems can lend themselves to being more responsive and flexible to consumer demand and provide real-time data and traceability of the product during the entire supply chain from the manufacturer, to distributors, to retailers and wholesalers. High-quality, clear, precise, and long-lasting codes that do not erase or rub off easily result in less product recall and less effort during delivery. It can ensure consistency of product and packaging and quick and easy traceability in transit to identify bottlenecks and kinks and iron those out quickly.

Some of the benefits of effective coding and marking to a supply chain includes reduced expenditure through better inventory management, reduced warehousing and logistics requirements by better preplanning and forecasting, increased production via reduced maintenance and servicing, and increased profitability by reducing input and operational expenses,”

By far, the greatest threat to any industry is duplication and counterfeiting. It can result in losses worth millions. Not to mention customer confidence and brand value erosion. One of the most crucial steps to reduce this counterfeiting threat is adopting the latest and most sophisticated coding and marking practices. With advanced marking and coding processes, it is easier to mark unique identification codes and relevant dates onto product packaging such as barcodes, QR codes, holograms, labels, laser codes, etc, that are very difficult to duplicate but at the same time identifiable and decipherable only by its target audience who have access to the knowledge and technical knowhow of decoding these codes. 

With the advent of the digital era, newer and more innovative coding and marking techniques are evolving every day, and although no solution is 100% foolproof, effective coding and marking can go a long way in protecting the supply chain from counterfeits and duplication and act as the first line of defence against fraudsters. This not only prevents losses but also helps build brand loyalty and a strong reputation in the market for the product. 

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