5 Ways to Improve Your Warehouse with Labeling Solutions

When we think about using labels in a warehouse, most of us think of using barcode labels for tracking inventory.

That’s certainly the most common use case for warehouse labels. But there are many other warehouse applications where labels can help automate processes, save time, and boost efficiency and accuracy.

At Tri-State Business Systems, we’ve been helping businesses streamline and optimize their operations with labeling solutions for decades. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about where labels can be most effective and where they can help solve common problems that get in the way of warehouse performance.

In this article, we’ll share five ways you can use warehouse labels to improve your operations in:

  • Receiving
  • Cross-docking
  • Rack and bin identification
  • Packing
  • Shipping

In each of these areas, you can use specialized Zebra labels to implement operational improvements and solve common labeling problems, so you can fulfill orders faster more accurately.

Let’s take a look at these 5 improvements you can make with Zebra labels.

  1. Create and Apply Packing Slips in Under 15 Seconds

 Many businesses lose precious time and money at the packing stage by having to fold packing slips multiple times, slide them into a sleeve, remove the liner, and put the sleeve on a box.

This is a time-consuming and inefficient process. In timed studies, it often takes 40 seconds to a full minute to complete.

However, with Zebra’s Z-Slip all-in-one packing slip solution, you can print, peel and apply a packing slip in just 11 seconds. That’s 73% faster than traditional methods.

Z-Slip is a specially prepared packing slip material that combines a packing slip with a built-in label and protector. When paired with a compatible Zebra industrial printer, Z-Slips completely transform your pack slip process, and they also deliver benefits for your shipment recipients.

Unlike traditional packing slip envelopes, which have to be cut open with a knife, Z-Slips can just be quickly peeled away and removed, with no damage to the slip and no risk of injury.


  1. Easily Sort and Identify Shipments and Special Handling Requirements

Sorting and properly handling packages is critical to getting the right goods to the right place as safely and efficiently as possible. But all that black-and-white print on shipping and packaging labels makes it difficult to immediately identify shipments visually and know if they need special handling.

To tackle this problem, Zebra developed a breakthrough labeling solution called IQ Color. Zebra’s IQ Color is an innovative invisible ink technology that allows colors to be printed on labels, and in specific locations, to facilitate quick and accurate identification, sorting and handling.

For example, you can print special identifying information or instructions with a color background, add color shapes or icons, or even print reverse-colored text.

You can do it all on demand, using Zebra labels pre-manufactured with invisible ink that adds the colors you need, when you need them, so you can decide when and how to apply color whenever you need it. And you don’t need to order, stock, and switch between different rolls of labels with different colors.

  1. Identify Inbound Raw Materials, Parts and Products Faster

Similar to issues with identifying and sorting shipments and packages, it can also be a challenge to quickly identify and put-away inbound raw materials, parts or products arriving in receiving.

Workers often have to read labels to identity items as well as which ones were first-in and first-out. This slows down the process and can also get in the way of prompt and efficient product recalls.

To help speed up identification, sorting and put-away, you can use Zebra’s direct thermal flood coated Z-Perform 2000D paper labels. These labels apply pre-printed color across the entire label, which can be used as an immediate and highly visual indicator of an item’s identity and even its receipt date or other characteristics.

Zebra produces these labels in several world-class ISO:9001 certified label production facilities, where PMS colors are precisely matched from order to order, to ensure you will always be able to identify received materials, parts and products correctly.

  1. Error-Proof Your Cross-Docking and Sorting

Mis-shipments are a common problem for many warehouses. And they often occur due to incorrect sorting of packages onto the correct skids during cross-docking operations. Without a way to visibly and more accurately identify and sort packages, warehouse workers often have to manually sort them using a letter and number combination, and this is where human error can occur.

To error-proof your cross-docking and sorting, this is another area where Zebra’s IQ Color labels can completely change the game.

With Zebra’s IQ Color invisible ink technology, you can add color indicators to your labels on demand, using your existing Zebra printer. There’s no need to buy, stock and use different rolls of labels, which take more time to change out.

Instead, you just use one label roll for all your cross-docking and sorting, and you can add color, text, shapes, symbols or background colors to create immediately visible indicators that make packages easier to sort.

  1. Improve Your Rack and Bin Identification

Running an organized and efficient warehouse starts with having a good rack and bin identification system in place, so you know where to find inventory and what belongs where at all times.

But rack and bin identification sometimes breaks down when labels become scratched, torn or otherwise damaged and potentially unreadable due to contact with chemicals or other abuses in your environment.

That’s why Zebra created its Z-Ultimate 3000T gloss polyester thermal transfer labels, which are designed to be used with Zebra’s 5095 wax/resin ribbon.

The label materials and ribbon work together to produce incredibly durable and long-lasting labels that remain readable and scannable, even in the toughest environments. The matched label and ribbon set are pre-tested to ensure abrasion, smear, scratch and chemical resistance, and they’re made with a synthetic material that does not tear.

Once you apply these labels to your racks and bins, they will stick, and they’ll withstand just about anything you can hit, scrape, or douse them with.

Want to Learn More About Zebra Warehouse Label Solutions?

Contact Tri-State Business Systems now to learn more about our complete portfolio of Zebra solutions and find out more ways you can use labels to boost efficiency, accuracy and productivity in your warehouse.