Reduce Human Error with Effective Label Design

Summary

"To err is human; to forgive, divine." - Alexander Pope

Most labeling software applications are packed with tools and features to prevent errors. This article covers some common ones and provides some links to Efficient Ideas articles.

Methods to Reduce Human Error

Several methods can be used to reduce the potential for human error:

Input masks - One of the most common errors in label creation is mistyping (i.e. a ‘typo’).  Mistyping important data with critical label information into your software at print time can cause BIG problems. Creative use of input masking can stop the error before it can result in bad labels. Most brands of labeling software can help prevent user typos by using a process call masking. Reduce Typos in Your Labeling with Input Masks! Reducing Errors Series - Article #1

Clear input fields - Although it may seem counter intuitive, often the best practice is to clear all the values and force the user to enter each one each time a print job is generated. Clear Input Fields and Force Users to Enter New Data. Reducing Errors Series - Article #3

Prevent Invalid Dates - Invalid dates can enter your label by either human entry or an erroneous mathematical calculation caused by a simple formula.  Although both types of error are possible, steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate them.  Features commonly available in professional label software can stop users from entering invalid dates and auto correct formulas that lead to calculating them.  Prevent Invalid Dates in Your Labels. Reducing Errors Series - Article #2

Formula based validation - Depending on what software application you use, you may be able to train it!  Some industrial labeling applications have the ability to build logical equations into the label design and then use those equations to warn the user and/or stop the label from printing.  Use Formulas to Prevent Faulty Labels from Printing. Reducing Errors Series - Article #4

System Clock - move any data that can come from the system either directly (as a date from the computer's internal system clock) or indirectly (a standard expiration derived from a formula based on the internal system clock) from a "When Printed" field to a calculated field or other data source.

Database connections - when possible, use database connections to populate fields on a label.  This takes the data entry out of the hands of the print user and locks it into data that has been entered previously into a database.

Table lookups - in situations where the data cannot be accessed from a field in a database but can be consolidated into a relatively small number of possible choices (i.e. a product category, color, or type) table lookups can allow the print user a limited choice of options (i.e. a drop down list) thereby insuring the end user enters the data consistently.

Efficient Labeling Ideas

Stop Typos in Your Labeling with Input Masks! Reducing Errors Series - Article #1

Preventing Invalid Dates in Your Labels. Reducing Errors Series - Article #2

Clear Input Fields and Force Users to Enter New Data. Reducing Errors Series - Article #3

Use Formulas to Prevent Faulty Labels from Printing. Reducing Errors Series - Article #4

Related Labeling Concepts

Why ERP Systems Are Not Good at Making Labels

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