With over 20 years of experience manufacturing and supplying identification solutions, LabTAG has compiled a vast inventory of products to accommodate the everyday needs of laboratories and medical facilities worldwide. However, customer requests that require the proficiency of a multifunctional R&D department and technical identification expertise may still arise. Here are the steps that allow LabTAG, as a custom label manufacturer, to provide a custom solution developed from scratch to address customer challenges that go beyond a simple custom size or color requirement.
The right personnel
When a need is identified with no solution on hand, it’s imperative that someone is available to accurately assess the need and provide a concrete strategy to accommodate it. To do so, the label manufacturer requires highly skilled personnel. Thus, partnering with a company to fulfill a need isn’t just about the need itself; it’s about the company you’re partnering with and who they employ.
When searching for the right identification solution for laboratories, the personnel you work with must understand the complexity of the procedures involved. At LabTAG, that means interacting with sales and technical specialists who have graduate degrees in life sciences and are capable of understanding and visualizing your need and matching the correct components to your application, including the label, printer, software, and accessories. Remember, often, the most critical considerations that must be addressed are the container’s surface (dimension and material), the resistance requirements (e.g. cryogenic, chemical resistance), and the printing method (digital or flexographic). With knowledge of the techniques you’re utilizing, LabTAG’s specialists understand which type of label and printout are most likely to work. They’re also trained to ask the right questions, so this feasibility assessment aims to fully understand the customer’s need, and a qualified team of dedicated scientists is essential.
Sometimes, their team is required to be creative as well. As science and biological engineering evolve, so do the methods used, with increasing complexity and more stringent conditions. It’s sometimes the case that a satisfactory solution doesn’t yet exist. This is why LabTAG has in place an R&D program especially designed with qualified personnel and resources to deal with unique and innovative labeling requests. It’s not enough to merely provide chemical-resistant labels; you must also consider whether an application might require chemical resistance, extreme temperature variations, and other special conditions based on the needs of your clients. In partnering with the client, their R&D team can develop a solution in-house to meet these conditions.
Keep in mind that developing a novel solution from scratch doesn’t always work, so it’s necessary to have the confidence to inform the client that a project is not possible in its current form and to clearly delineate what is possible by providing options that fit in their solution space. When it comes to communication with the customers, it’s vital for both parties, the client and the custom label manufacturer, to actively participate in developing the solution. That means keeping all lines of communication and the flow of ideas open and honest, forming confidentiality agreements, and building trust between all parties involved. Quotations provided by the manufacturer should accurately account for development costs and present realistic lead times.
Developing and testing the solution
Designing an identification solution can be an imperfect science. Some requests are simple, like custom printing, sizing, or color, but some requests are so detailed and specific that they require intense involvement from both parties in what can be referred to as a validation exercise. To fully understand how the labels will be used, a thorough analysis must be performed, with several key questions that will determine the proper course of action:
- What solutions will the labels encounter?
- Is it incidental exposure, or will these labels be immersed for an extended period?
- What temperatures will be the label be exposed to?
- What surfaces will the label be affixed to?
- Will any special features be necessary (e.g. tamper-evident, piggyback)?
- What size and shape will the labels need to be?
- What color will be needed for the label and printout?
- Will barcodes or RFID be necessary?
- Are there regulatory requirements that must be met?
The client’s workflow also needs to be fully understood to determine if there may be fail points along the way. This might include gathering specification data and drawings, ensuring compatibility, and eliminating ambiguities.
Once these testing conditions have been thoroughly evaluated, the R&D team can develop a solution that best matches the desired application and will attempt to best simulate the environment and application when performing in-house testing. Primary raw materials can also be sent to clients for evaluation.
After the solution is tested and verified, a full detailed report can be provided, if required, along with prototypes and samples for evaluation. Datasheets of the custom products should be formulated and distributed, so the customer has a detailed description of their product. Finally, the client should be informed of pricing for future bulk orders, which will no longer include costs for R&D.
All of this is possible because of how LabTAG has operated for over 20 years: with a keen interest in research and development. From the ground up, the company—and all the custom products it designs—are formulated based on scientific principles, with a team of experts to back it up. That way, when you endeavor to start a new avenue of research, or even a new biological technique, you’ll never be left in the dark with regards to accurately and consistently identifying your samples.
LabTAG by GA International is a leading custom label manufacturer of high-performance specialty labels and a supplier of identification solutions used in research and medical labs as well as healthcare institutions.