How coding technology delivers better legal compliance for packaging

By Thomas Pinnington, technical sales manager at Newcode Partnership

IN modern industry, product packaging is much more than simply a container for an item that is for sale. High-quality packaging needs to be robust and well designed, and to present all of the necessary information that customers and regulators need to know to put their faith in the product.

As such, the packaging sector has become highly regulated, with complex rules and systems of legal oversight in place to ensure that every product sold meets the required standard when it comes to correctly labelled packaging. Failure to comply with these standards can be highly damaging for your brand and your business.

Fortunately, modern coding and marking technology is designed to help prevent errors and make compliance as straightforward as possible. Here, we explore the ways in which these tools can aid your business.

The importance of avoiding packaging errors

To create legally compliant packaging, manufacturers need to ensure that packages and labels include the data necessary to provide buyers and suppliers with everything they need to know about the item’s provenance, quality and authenticity. This includes:

Barcodes

Batch numbers

Production dates

Expiration dates

Inventory management data

Tracking ID numbers

This information needs to be printed clearly, legibly and without errors, and in full compliance with all of the regulations and guidelines governing packaging design for your specific sector. Unfortunately, these standards are not always met for a variety of reasons, ranging from equipment failure to poor printing quality, or simple human error.

When mistakes are made during the encoding of this critical information, it can lead to a number of potential pitfalls:

Incorrect data is included on the product label, confusing or misleading your customers

Erroneous tracking data disrupts your supply chain, meaning products are lost or misplaced during the shipping process

Your supply chain becomes untraceable, creating issues if a batch of products needs to be reviewed or recalled, and making the sector more vulnerable to counterfeiting

Products fail to meet the necessary regulatory standards due to coding errors, leading to a risk of regulatory fines or penalties

Your brand suffers long-term reputational damage and financial loss as a result of these errors

Every business will be keen to avoid these consequences, but when an error has already occurred, this will mean having to correct or completely dispose of miscoded products or packaging, creating unnecessary waste.

How modern coding systems can make compliance easier

The potential costs associated with coding errors and failures of compliance are why it is so valuable and important to invest in coding technology that can help to prevent these problems. The newest coding systems and laser marking equipment are developed with the needs of manufacturers in mind, offering various features to help improve compliance:

High-fidelity coding, even when printing on challenging surfaces such as glass or curved plastic

Optimised for printing legible information at small sizes, including micro-scale characters as small as 1 mm

Highly automated operations, helping to prevent human error and increasing the overall efficiency of production

Simple and user-friendly interfaces, making it easy to preview and edit text, and to check over batch instructions to eliminate potential errors

High-speed printing to maintain the pace of your output without sacrificing quality, preventing delays further down the supply chain

By investing in the right coding technology, businesses in the food and beverages sector can ensure all products are going out with the right expiry dates and batch production numbers, while pharmaceutical manufacturers can make sure every single product they sell can be properly accounted for as it moves across the globe. Regulators will gain confidence in your business’s ability to meet the required standards, while end users will be able to place their trust in your products, meaning that this technology can deliver benefits for every stakeholder across your entire supply chain.