How To Make The Most Of Your Labelling Operations?

Joe Guy
August 5, 2023
Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

Chief Product Officer
Joe is the Chief Product Officer at Loopr AI and responsible for understanding our customer's business problems and delivering a product strategy to address these problems.

To make the most out of a labeling operation, the mechanism of developing & refining the training data must be improved! It is a known fact that those who closely monitor and enhance their labelling procedures save considerable time & money. Also, they are better positioned to precisely forecast future project requirements.

There are three types of metrics that ML teams can utilize to fine-tune the labelling process so that a training data platform can track them precisely.

The metrics are used by manufacturers worldwide to control & track their operations. During labelling, a fine balance must be struck between them to ensure a truly optimized process.

The 3 Important Metrics Of Labeling

1. Throughput

Throughput can be defined as the total volume of training data generated in a particular time period. The important throughput metrics to watch out for includes:

  • Time Spent At Labeling & Reviewing

This particular metric is utilized to estimate the cost of a labeling operation. If it stays consistent, then it can be utilized to forecast future costs too.

  • Labeling & Reviewing Throughput

To acquire an accurate insight into the process, teams should consider both labeling & review throughput, while also monitoring any constraints in the evaluation process.

  • Per Labeler Throughput

This metric aids a team to pinpoint both high-performing & low-performing labelers.

2. Quality

It is becoming glaringly apparent that the quality of training data is critical to developing an efficient ML model. Teams must focus on the annotations' consistency (how exactly two labelers label the same product) as well as accuracy to assess the training data quality.

Implementing consensus & benchmarking protocols within the labeling process coupled with monitoring of results to refine labels, identifying the differences & misconceptions, can dramatically improve the quality of the training data.

3. Efficiency

Efficiency is calculated by evaluating throughput vis-a-vis the cost/time required to generate training data. For the sake of convenience, the average across a group of labelers is often tracked, but analyzing individual labelers' output allows for more relevant information.

Teams that monitor individual efficiency metrics can determine whether the most active labelers are genuinely creating top-notch training data. If they are doing so, their approaches can be shared with the rest of the workforce to improve the net efficiency. These analytics will also assist the team in identifying underperforming labelers.

Top 8 Ways To Improve Labeling Operations

1. Keep A Watch On The Non-Coding Parameters

Are all the packaging-line components working in tandem to facilitate an efficient operation? Fluttering, skewing, and random slippage can happen if the package drivers are not working within the proper parameters.

Even minor deviations from the correct parameters can cause the efficiency of the coding & labeling procedure to go down. Thus, examining the back-pressure, conveyor rail location, lens settings, and illumination, etc is important.

2. Maintenance Of Equipment Is A Must

Periodic maintenance is essential for coding & labeling operations to run smoothly. You can collaborate with your supplier to develop a Total Preventative Maintenance(TPM) list. It is always a smart move to maintain your equipment over risking an expensive downtime.

3. Utilize The Accurate Consumables

The most cost-effective and easiest way to optimize the coding & labeling equipment's performance is to utilize the recommended ink, labels, etc. Resist the temptation of buying less expensive ink/ribbon to save money. In the long run, it will burn your pockets since the coding & labeling equipment won't work at their best.

4. The Environment Under Control

The temperature & humidity can affect the efficacy of your coding as well as the labeling devices. Ensure that all the equipment is operating in a stable environment. Alternatively, you can invest in the coding & labeling equipment that has been proven to operate effectively in a variety of settings. Examine the vibration in the immediate surroundings (like the ones produced by conveyors). To keep the equipment stable in a vibrating scenario, you can invest in a shock-absorbent platform.

5. Cleaning The Print-head

Inkjet printers have traditionally suffered from ink thickening, which reduces the equipment's efficiency. Although modern inkjet printers come with an automatic flush-cleaning mechanism, the thermal print-heads and label printer applicator still require replacement because of regular wear & tear.

6. Reduce Errors In Variability

Are there variable codes, like best-before dates and use-by being printed? If this is the case, keeping the product sensors clean at any point in time assumes significance. This is needed to ensure that the proper code is being printed on the right products.

7. Implement The Best Integration Software

You must invest in the best integration software which can be used to associate all the labeling, coding, and relevant end-of-line packaging equipment operations. This will facilitate faster validation as well as error detection with zero manual intervention.

You can be certain of precise code & labeling being applied to the right products if you're using the right integration software. Furthermore, since you gain access to the OEE analytics, you can promptly address any issue that may be causing bottlenecks.

8. Vendor Support

Is your equipment provider providing you with solid support? Opt for a vendor based on their long-term support history instead of the initial expenditure when purchasing equipment.

Service & support plays a crucial role in ensuring that the coding & labeling equipment remains 100% functional. Ascertain your vendor's ability to provide regular servicing and emergency support whenever required.

Closing Note:

While the labeling operations are not always the prime focus of the analysts & managers, they are a pretty important piece of the supply chain jigsaw. It positively influences customer satisfaction notably when it is working at its best. Delayed or incorrect shipments, lost packages, and other issues are almost entirely avoidable with a smooth-running labeling process. Get in contact with our specialists immediately if you're considering investing in top-notch coding & labeling or updating your existing process.