What’s Next in Case Coding?

The most important case coding trends in 2024

Every time you think you have your packaging process down to a fine art, something changes in the blink of an eye. Whether it’s emerging technologies, shifting consumer preferences, new regulations or something else, you need to pay attention to the changes if you want to keep your business ahead of the competition.

Case coding might only be one small process in your packaging line, but it’s critical to your packaging success. That’s why, in this article, we’ll delve into three pivotal trends influencing case coding in 2024.

Trend 1: Sustainable packaging

Sustainability should be at the top of the agenda for every manufacturer in 2024. Sustainable materials have become a focus for packaging, and with consumers and businesses becoming increasingly aware of packaging’s impact on the environment, this trend is set to intensify in 2024.

Retailers are demanding suppliers become more sustainable, too. For example, Costco requests that suppliers use responsibly sourced paper fibers, such as certified paperboard and recycled content, for paper-based packaging materials and has a strong preference for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

There is also growing awareness around the impact of inks, driving the move towards more environmentally friendly options. Depending on the substrate, you may need to explore different marking technologies and inks to ensure you’re getting crisp, durable marks every time.

Takeaway: Sustainability is a matter of survival. Manufacturers that use sustainable materials and adopt compatible carton coding will be in a good position in 2024. Marking and coding vendors, including Matthews Marking Systems, work closely with suppliers, customers, and partners to deliver the solutions CPGs need to take advantage of the latest sustainable packaging innovations.

Trend 2: Automate to lower costs

In the current economic climate, manufacturers are looking for ways to manage the challenge of labor shortages. This challenge is compounded by another trend: the proliferation of SKUs. Product variations and options are increasing rapidly, putting extra pressure on manufacturers.

Here’s where the trend toward marking automation and integration can pay major dividends. Automated marking frees employees from tedious manual tasks so they can add value elsewhere. It also reduces the number of touches for operators, which means fewer errors and less waste.

Graphic showing factory workers.

For example, by using a marking controller platform like MPERIA you can integrate marking and vision technologies to automate quality control of your carton coding and labeling operations. This reduces the potential for human error and delivers greater transparency throughout the production process.

As we detail in this blog post on marking automation, automated controllers also help you quickly change from one SKU to the next with minimal disruption. So, when a product changeover occurs, operators can change codes from a centralized controller and achieve changeovers in a flash.

Takeaway: Marking automation is a no-brainer in 2024. Along with boosting productivity and reducing costs, automation can help you gather and analyze data that you can use to improve your business in the long term.

Trend 3: Reducing waste

Closely connected to the sustainability trend, in 2024, manufacturers are seeking to reduce waste throughout their processes. And the best place to start? On the packaging line.

One effective way to reduce waste is to eliminate carton coding and labeling errors. Imagine that a whole batch of cartons is coded incorrectly. If the printing error isn’t discovered for several hours, or worse, until the products have left your plant for the customer, you can end up recalling, destroying, or reworking thousands of products.

An automated marking platform helps prevents mistake by removing the potential for human error. With centralized control of your marking and coding processes, you can ensure accurate coding across your packaging – no matter how many message formats you are dealing with.

Going a step further, automating your case coding gives you the flexibility to change batch and lot codes during shifts instead of having the same code for an entire shift. When a recall emerges for some reason, you can zero in on a smaller lot and potentially pull fewer products off the shelves.

Takeaway: The battle against waste can be as simple as improving package coding processes. Look at how you can use automated technology to improve carton coding accuracy and watch your wastage drop.

Get the edge with MPERIA

The MPERIA automated marking solution seamlessly integrates into existing production environments, ensuring accurate and consistent marking to eliminate human errors.

A key advantage of using MPERIA for case coding is that it can control multiple technologies from a central location. This gives you the advantage of mixing and matching technologies such as L-Series thermal inkjet printers, T-Series  piezo inkjet printers, and A-Series automated print and apply labelers. As a universal controller, MPERIA can also integrate with existing print technology as well as scales, scanners, verification equipment, and more.

Get a free demo, sample marks

Time to upgrade your marking and coding solution to get the edge in 2024? Request a demo to try the MPERIA Controller. And if you’re ready to embrace sustainable or compostable packaging, send us a sample and work with you to provide sample marks so you can see the Matthews difference first hand. Fill out the quick form below for more information.