As your facility grows it can be tempting to find ways to reduce production times and costs. In the food and pharmaceutical industries one common practice is called bright stock labeling. In the past, it was more common to package and label products immediately after production. Now that companies often have dozens of SKUs per facility, production scheduling can become difficult and complicated. Sometimes time management will lend itself to partial labeling and packaging batches.
What is Bright Stock Labeling?
This is a manufacturing process where products are produced in large batches on the production line, then stored in large unlabeled containers. These containers then get stored until later processing. When time allows, the material is removed from storage and begins to be filled again.
In addition, bright stocking can occur when a company is manufacturing a product for private labeling. For example, if Company A manufactures a product for Company B who in turn does their own labeling, the products will be packaged and sent unlabeled to Company B. Thus, Company A will need to store the packaged products in ambiguous unlabeled containers.
Why Bright Stock Labeling Can Be an Issue
Perhaps one of the main challenges for a plant in implementing a bright stock manufacturing tactic is understanding the contents of each container in storage. This must also be a 100% certainty before placing the labels. These labeling requirements must also conform to QA, QC and other compliance.
If your facility is producing only one cannabis product of a certain efficacy, then you may be able to effectively implement this type of system. But where issues occur is when a facility or plant makes more than one type of product. There is a greater potential for errors in a plant or warehouse where the products are stored in large containers that are only labeled at a later date.
What if products falls out of the storage containers and are returned to the wrong ones? What happens if the main label on the container falls off? If each product were individually labeled, all a worker would have to do would be to read the label on that package and place it back in its appropriate spot.
Greater Dangers & Risks
The traditional approach to labeling and packaging in production plants has been to do it immediately following production. Today, shortcuts are being done. A production line may have one or more different types of products.
It can be of higher risk to not only use bright stock labeling on a production line that is producing multiple products in one day, but to also label them at a later date.
It’s simply not good GMP to adopt a bright stock labeling process in a cannabis facility. It’s already a bad thing when a food manufacturer is producing edibles that could potentially be mislabeled, but their safety has already been predetermined by the edible materials used to produce that food. It is another matter entirely when you’re manufacturing cannabis-related products or pharmaceuticals. These are often highly potent materials which could bring great harm if taken or distributed erroneously.
Not only is there greater risk to the public when selling cannabis pharmaceuticals due to mislabeled products, but it can also affect the trust of your business too. A critical customer complaint can cost your business a lawsuit.
If you choose to use bright stock labeling in your plant, ensure that your production line only contains one type of product at a time. Have processes in place that keep your production flowing, to ensure that there are no mixups.
But mostly the moral should be that there is no reason for Bright Stocking. Finish out batches and label as materials are packaged. In any case, it means less changeover time.