Getting shipments and inventory into retail distribution and onto store shelves efficiently is a key to profitability for any manufacturer, especially when you ship high volumes of products to big‐box retailers. Since all big‐box operators have rigid requirements for shipments coming into their distribution centers and stores, it’s critical to ensure pallets and cartons are labeled precisely. Get it right and inventory will almost always sail through without a hitch. Make a mistake however, and you’ll likely see delays, rejected deliveries, extra charges and costly rework to get your products on store shelves. UNDERSTAND REQUIREMENTS The first step to preparing shipments to big‐box stores is understanding their labeling requirements. While many retailers use certain common elements and regulatory requirements may apply to labeling standards within certain product categories, no single set of pallet labeling standards applies to all industries. Each big‐box retailer establishes detailed requirements for their receiving operations. The first thing shipping teams should do is obtain the labeling guidelines for each big‐box retailer — never assume that what’s acceptable for one will work for another. Each big‐box store will have specific requirements for everything from what goes on each label to how many labels are required to exactly where labels should be applied. For example, Walmart’s supply chain packaging guide, which runs several hundred pages, includes multiple pages of instructions and requirements just for pallet labeling. DEPLOY A LABELING SOLUTION Once you understand the requirements, your next step is to deploy a labeling solution that will keep you in compliance while keeping pace with shipments moving through your packaging and shipping workflows. For high‐volume operations, an automated print‐and‐apply labeling machine is an ideal solution that can be customized to your business. With an automated print‐and‐apply labeling solution, you’ll eliminate potential slowdowns and errors associated with manual systems. Plus, you’ll take workers out of production areas where labels are applied, minimizing the potential for costly injuries and accidents. Keep in mind that all print‐and‐apply solutions aren’t created equal. You need a solution that can keep pace with your operations while delivering the flexibility required to address the varying requirements of different big‐box distribution centers and — perhaps most importantly — ensure reliable performance day after day, shift after shift. ALL‐ELECTRIC PRINT & APPLY LABELING MACHINE At Diagraph, a key component of our all‐electric PA7100 print‐and‐apply labeling machine is the Zebra ZE500 Series OEM thermal printer engine. We know from experience that we can count on Zebra printer engines to deliver industry‐leading print performance and durability for 4‐ and 6‐inch carton and pallet labels in your print‐and‐apply solutions. They feature durable, all‐metal construction for long‐lasting durability and deliver print speeds that can match the throughput of high‐volume production lines. Plus, they’re easy to set up, manage and maintain onsite or remotely to help schedule maintenance and prevent unexpected interruptions. With an all‐electric Diagraph PA7100 print‐and‐apply labeling machine using a Zebra OEM print engine, you’ll have a pallet and case labeling system that can help you maximize performance, compliance and profitability. To learn more, contact your Diagraph representative.