We first started talking about LabelLogic Live a few years ago. We had some clear ideas from the outset as to what we wanted the software to do but the technology simply didn't exist at that stage to make it a reality. While this was a little frustrating, it gave us time to speak to our customers and really get to grips with their labelling needs, as well as to figure out where existing software could do better.
The main sticking point was accessibility - how you get into the software in the first place without having to get the I.T. department involved, as well as how you move around it and use it once you're in there - and this gave us our primary focus. We decided LabelLogic Live needed to work on a whole range of devices, not just PCs. And we ideally wanted it to work anywhere so users weren't limited to creating labels in their office. Making LabelLogic Live a truly cloud-based application, so absolutely everything is stored and accessed online, solved a lot of these problems. However, we knew we had to go one hundred percent cloud-based if we wanted this to fully work. Otherwise the system would still require 3rd party software installation and manual updates which have been an issue for part-cloud providers. This also future proofs the system too as it means we can automatically update LabelLogic Live in line with legislative changes, software updates and other developments later down the line.
OK, so if LabelLogic Live is 'everywhere' the next question is how do you get in? Historically the answer would have been simple - a PC - but things have changed. Most food labelling systems run on PCs because back when the software was first being developed, unless you were James Bond, this was all there was. Of course technology has come on leaps and bounds and devices once thought of as pure science fiction are now extremely common place so much of our 'office work' is done on the go - especially if you oversee multiple sites! For all these reasons, we felt it was hugely important that LabelLogic Live worked on ALL internet connected devices so we developed the application to be compatible with laptops, phones, tablets, PCs and Macs and across a wide range of operating systems too.
Of course having everything online can be problematic: what about security for example, where does everything actually get kept and will it be safe? We considered a few hosts but Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the clear front runner. Channel Four, The Guardian, IMDB, Interflora, ITV, JustGiving, Netflix, The US Department of State (!) - their client list goes on and on because the security and assurances they offer is exceptional. In fact when we visited an AWS site we were met by armed guards so trust us when we say that your sandwich recipes and label designs have never been in safer hands.
With your data protected from the outside world, what about errors from within your business - especially if you're a multi-site operation? A spelling mistake for example or rolling out a new product? And what happens if a site wants to change pricing - how do you police that? We overcame this problem by setting up a parent/ child structure, whereby the head office (parent) can roll out a master database and set the limitations they choose for each individual site (child) to ensure consistency across the board. Moreover any errors - such as spelling mistakes - can be rectified at the top level rather than having to reissue software disks to hundreds of sites individually. And if a site wants to change something locally this is no problem either as head office can grant permission accordingly.
Next up, actually using the application. Our customers told us they wanted to be able to produce nutritional labelling so we incorporated our NutriLogic programme into the new software to calculate everything for them. We also created plenty of pre-made templates for customers looking to go entirely 'off the shelf', this includes templates with barcodes, templates with allergens and templates with reference intakes as well as our much requested photo shoot templates for that 'as seen in the catalogue' look.
With an internal framework sketched out, we began thinking about how it might actually look to the user. We knew we wanted to give LabelLogic Live a very simple presentation - something that was easy to navigate around and really straightforward to use. So we began exploring how best this might work and brought in our in-house design team to help. We felt the application should avoid technical jargon using clear, straight talking language instead. We also introduced icons and colour coding to make everything crystal clear.
LabelLogic Live Main Menu
With functionality and design sorted, we were ready for testing and this needed to be done by as many people as possible to get an accurate gauge as to how the application really looked and performed. So in July 2014 we approached our customers offering a lifetimes subscription to businesses willing to get involved. Dozens were enlisted and over the following year bugs were fixed, new functions added and things were generally made better all with the help of our expert testers. We got all of our staff involved with the secondary testing, then we spent two months on the road visiting customers from every type of business we could think of to see what they thought. Bakers, farm shops, contract caterers, deli's, hospitals, zoos - we went to them all to make sure each and everyone's requirements were being met. Then we made our final revisions and we were ready for launch.
LabelLogic Live Logo Concepts
LabelLogic Live was three years in the making and consequentially it's a better product for it. And while we're now bringing the application to market, in many ways this is just the beginning because this is the joy of a cloud-based system - that we can continue to update and enhance as we go. And it's this ability to evolve that drives us and keeps us on our toes so, regardless of the many twists and turns the industry will no doubt take over the coming years, we've every confidence we're ready for anything!