Every business wants to save costs without sacrificing quality and customer satisfaction. But one area where a focus on cost-cutting can be detrimental is with barcode labels and supplies.
Many companies choose the cheapest labels and printing supplies, and they overlook the importance of these materials. They fail to realize the hidden long-term costs and potential drawbacks of using the wrong labels and supplies—especially cheap, low-quality products that feel like a real bargain.
In this article, we explain what can go wrong with cheap labels and printing supplies, including three ways they can slow down or halt your business-critical processes and create hidden costs.
1. Barcode Scanning and Label Reading Failures
In thermal barcode labeling, it’s crucial to use the right labels with the right facestock, top coat, and ribbon so your barcodes and other information are printed correctly on each label and withstand your scanning environment.
Inconsistent print quality, an improper match of materials with your printhead, and issues with sunlight, chemical, abrasion, or moisture exposure can all cause barcodes and labels to become unscannable or unreadable.
To avoid wasting time and cost by having to interrupt your labeling or scanning processes and reprint or rescan labels, it’s crucial to choose quality materials and use the right combination of ribbon and label to match your application, hardware, and environment.
2. Label Adhesive Failure
Many businesses make the mistake of using cheap office-grade labels for industrial applications. If you’re using office-grade labels in a more rugged environment or outdoors—especially in areas that might be exposed to moisture, water, chemicals, or extreme temperatures—this can cause adhesion failures.
If barcode labels fall off, you can’t scan them and could end up losing track of valuable assets, equipment, or customer shipments. This is why it’s important to match your label adhesive to your application and make sure you have the right materials to handle exposure to extreme heat or cold, chemicals, abrasion, and water or moisture.
3. Premature Printhead Replacement
Printheads inevitably need to be replaced from time to time, but using the wrong labels or low-quality materials often leads to premature replacements. Printheads can cost as much as a thousand dollars, so you want to get as much life out of them as possible.
Unfortunately, many businesses use the wrong combination of label materials and ribbon, and they end up using excessive print darkness to compensate for the resulting print issues. This burns through printheads faster, which dramatically drives up costs.
To avoid this, label materials and ribbons must be carefully matched to ensure proper print quality and minimize printhead wear.
How to Save Costs with Quality Labels and Supplies
To avoid unnecessary costs and printing headaches, our barcoding experts at Supply Chain Services recommend using high-quality labels and printing supplies from Zebra Technologies.
Zebra has an impeccable track record for label and print supply performance, with ISO 9001:2008 procedures. All of its supplies are rigorously pre-tested for print quality, adhesive strength, printhead wear, and specific application requirements.
With 500 stock options, over 1,000 possible combinations of labels and ribbons, and an R&D team that can create custom solutions, Zebra has labeling supplies for virtually any conceivable application.
Plus, if you use Zebra printers and agree to use Zebra supplies exclusively, you get 100% guaranteed printhead protection. If a printhead ever wears out prematurely, it will be replaced at no cost to you.