Labeling Your Warehouse for a Barcode System – Product Labels


Our discussion of barcodes and managing your warehouse continues with how to label your inventory items.  There are some very creative ideas when it comes to putting a barcode label on your item, so if you feel you have unique requirements, talk to a labeling expert.  Here are just some of the scenarios we have seen:

“I know how to label a box with my item in it, but how do I handle items that are too small to label?”

Part of this answer depends on your software.  If you can receive in bulk (say by the “box” or “bag”) but issue by the each, you can still label the container.  If that choice isn’t an option you can label a bin (or shelf) with the specific item number and scan plus enter quantity when issuing from the warehouse inventory.




“I want to label the item with my SKU but I don’t want the label on the item when it ships.”

Use a label with “removable” adhesive.  There are different label materials available with this adhesive, and it allows you to label your item but remove that label at any time.  There are different grades of removable  adhesive, and there should be no residue left on your item once the label is removed, so test the adhesives before settling on one.  We’ve produced labels that remove from copper sheets to newsprint.


“I want to label my item, then remove the label and put it on the shipping container.”

In this case, you will want “repositionable” adhesive or a “piggyback” label.  Both options will allow you to adhere the label, remove it, and re-adhere it to a second surface.  The piggyback label leaves a secondary backing on the original surface, while the repositionable label releases entirely from the first surface.  Here is an example of a specialty piggyback label:



This customer wanted to print inventory information on a color-coded label, then remove that label and leave a nice looking company label on the item.  The first layer of colored label was removed prior to shipping and the product label with the preprinted logo and company address remained.


“I need to print a complex label with multiple barcodes to identify both part number and serial number.  How complex can my label be?”

The answer to this is a two-part question:  What do you need on the label and how large can the label be to fit on your item?  We can put pretty much anything you like on a label including photos – it depends on the space available.  Here are a couple examples of some complex labels:

“I’d like to minimize the handling when I ship my inventory.  Are there any barcode labels that can be a packing slip?”

The answer to this question is “Yes!”  Both Zebra and Sato make a packing slip that can be printed on a thermal transfer (barcode) printer.  The advantages to using this method are (1) less handling in the shipping department, therefore higher throughput; (2) lower cost for shipping materials.  This method eliminates the common packing slip which is typically printed on a laser printer and inserted in a plastic sleeve.  The cost of the sleeve, the paper and toner to print the packing slip and the time to put that all together are eliminated.  This is the Zebra Z-Slip:

As you can see there are many product labeling schemes.  These are just a few.  Think about your ideal scenario and then ask your labeling experts to help you find the best way to meet your needs.