Yuri Pronin: The best way to solve labeling problems is to cancel it
According to the expert, the correct solution to the problem is not to postpone the introduction of mandatory digital labeling, but to cancel it. According to Yuri Pronin, the main reason for this is the technical unpreparedness of the equipment and the lack of labeling solutions at the CATD, equipment suppliers and printing houses.
According to the head of the factory JSC Novosibkholod, the main problems associated with the labeling of ice cream are the application of the code on the packaging and reading it at the checkout of the store.
‘To apply the code on the package and read it at the checkout of the store, you need to change the design of the package and provide a white field of 15x15 mm for the Data-Matrix code. Now we have new packaging materials, as well as the remnants of old packaging, without this field, which will lead to massive write - off and the risk of having no packaging in the season of 2021, taking into account the unpreparedness of printing houses for labeling,’ the expert noted.
He noted that none of the equipment integrators offered a solution for applying and reading the code for ice cream in a cone. According to Yuri Pronin, the capacity of the cone line is 10 thousand items per hour. At the same time, printing houses are not ready to put the code on a cardboard cone. Moreover, manual labeling and scanning of products will lead to an increase in the labor costs of the wages fund by 50% to the existing ones.
The expert also noted that equipping production lines with additional and non-standard equipment will reduce their capacity and increase the percentage of defects, in cases where it is impossible to integrate devices for applying and reading bar codes into the existing process: the production of a cone, a product in parchment and cased foil, and weight types.
‘The collection, processing and transmission of codes are also vulnerabilities in the labeling process. On average, the ice cream producer will annually submit a report on the introduction of 150 million codes into circulation. Since the shelf life of ice cream is 2 years, the number of codes in the database will increase exactly 2 times. We ask ourselves the questions: ‘Will the CATD data storage servers be able to handle the receipt and processing of such a large amount of information? Won’t there be a failure and loss of information?’ In this regard, there will be additional personnel costs associated with the management and exchange of codes with the CATD, tracking of balances. We will need IT specialists to monitor the operation of the system 24/7,’ said Yuri Pronin.
According to him, another problem associated with the labeling of ice cream is the unwillingness of printing houses to apply the code on the special packaging of the product of the factory JSC Novosibkholod.
‘No printing company we work with is ready to apply the code on parchment. There is no answer to the question of how to label eskimo pie and briquettes in parchment and tinfoil. Therefore, there is no universal simple solution for applying the code for ice cream. For example, in the tobacco industry, packaging is a rectangular form of cardboard. It is obvious that the decision of tobacco manufacturers was the laser application of the code on the selected square on the package. In our product portfolio there are more than 20 different types of packaging: ice cream in a waffle glass in flexible packaging, baths, buckets, cremans, and so on. The method of applying the code will be selected for each product and each line individually. Therefore, we already face the fact that not every integrator can work out a high-quality technical solution for all production lines and each product,’ said Yuri Pronin.
According to him, it takes time to solve these problems, to find and qualitatively work out technical solutions for labeling. The expert noted that testing of the ready solution should be carried out on the production line during several shifts by different employees. Thus, you will get a knowledge base on the processes of applying, reading the code and transmitting it to the CATD.
Yuri Pronin noted that now, the level of knowledge of the industry representatives about the labeling of ice cream is more theoretical than practical. Therefore, all manufacturers are aware of the three ways of applying the code. But in practice, , only the typographic one was tested in the ice cream industry.
The expert noted that the example of a direct method of applying the code or labeling was never discussed at any working meeting with the CATD. Therefore, according to Yuri Pronin, the CATD should create a practical working platform for labeling different packaging form factors, so that manufacturers can personally see the working ice cream production system.
At the same time, Yuri Pronin noted that representatives of the CATD partially help enterprises in the process of introducing mandatory digital labeling.
‘During the official experiment, the CATD helped to register our company in the Personal Account of the Honest Mark system, place an order for codes in the printing house and a product description in the national catalog. It took us six months of intensive and fruitful work, from July to December, to conduct the experiment together with the CATD. However, together we were able to find a technical solution for only one line and worked out only one way to apply the code to the packaging,’ the expert said.
He added that now, the level of workload of the employees of the CATD does not allow them to be in the mode of operational support for enterprises. Therefore, the questions raised at the working meeting between dairy producers and the CATD remain unanswered.
‘It is obvious that the CATD needs to change the format of the working meetings on labeling. It is necessary not to mix all the producers of the dairy industry into one group, but to divide them by areas. That is, to consider separately the issues of ice cream, cheese, milk, as well as to share the technical solutions found,’ says Yuri Pronin.
The head of the factory JSC Novosibkholod concluded that, according to commercial proposals from equipment suppliers, the estimated amount of labeling costs will be from 80 to 100 million rubles for equipping 20 ice cream lines at the enterprise.
According to the expert, the total cost includes the cost of equipment for applying and reading the code, software, and technical improvement of the lines. Therefore, at the factory JSC Novosibkholod it will be necessary to allocate from 3.5 million rubles for consumables to replace the print heads and thermal tape. In addition, if they order the film with the applied codes in the printing house, the increase in the cost of flexible packaging will be 30%.