When it comes to barcode label printing, many of us would like to just “set it and forget it.” Printing labels seems so basic and simple that we like to take it for granted.
But a lot of costly problems can disrupt your labeling operations and your bottom line if you don’t pay attention to the labeling supplies you’re using, and you don’t perform the right preventive maintenance and repairs to keep your printers in top working order.
On average, most businesses spend 3 to 10 times more on their labels and printing supplies than they do on the cost of their label printers. This makes it tempting to cut corners and reduce costs by using cheaper labels and supplies, but doing that often costs them much more in the long run. And if you’re not servicing your printers regularly and following the right steps to keep them clean and properly repaired, you could be inviting worse problems.
In terms of labels and supplies, there are several common and costly problems that come with using cheap, low-quality supplies:
Cheap low-quality labels often require too much print darkness.
Buying cheaper printing supplies is a virtual guarantee that they’re going to be lower quality, and you’ll often get inconsistent and poor printing results. And it almost always means your labels, ribbons and supplies aren’t designed with specialized materials or matched up with specific application requirements to ensure consistent printing, barcode scanning, readability, and durability.
To compensate for this, many users end up using more print darkness to compensate for poor print quality and the inability of low-quality labels to withstand application and environmental factors such as sunlight, rubbing, scratching, moisture or chemicals.
But excessive print darkness means you’ll burn through your printheads way too fast, which can waste hundreds or thousands of dollars each time you need to replace them.
Poor printing often causes scanning issues.
When label materials and printing supplies aren’t properly matched to your application, you can easily end up with poor print quality, unscannable barcodes and unreadable information. It takes the right combination of materials, from the top coat of the label to your printer ribbon and other supplies, to get things right.
But cheap, low-quality labels are usually designed for very basic and generic labeling applications, and when they’re not up to the task in more demanding environments and use cases, and your labels ended up printing poorly, your business-critical scanning operations could suddenly come to a halt, and you could end up losing track of inventory, products or assets.
Label printing problems consume valuable IT time.
Most companies want their IT team focused on important projects and strategic work. Or they rely on outside third parties to manage their technologies.
In either case, the last thing you want is to waste IT time, resources and cost on dealing with avoidable problems such as labeling and print quality issues, or printer repairs and frequent printhead replacements. But going the cheap route up-front and not focusing on quality supplies will often lead to all of these problems and much greater costs over time.
How to Minimize Printing Costs with the Right Supplies and Service
In helping clients with printing and data capture technologies for over 30 years, our team at The SMS Group has consistently seen that prevention is the key to lowering your long-term labeling costs. And there are two key preventive steps you can take to maximize printer health while minimizing your long-term costs.
1. Use Zebra high-quality label printers and certified Zebra labels and supplies.
Zebra’s printers are unmatched in the barcoding industry for their ruggedness, reliability and their unsurpassed print quality and consistency. And Zebra’s labels and supplies are produced with ISO:9001 certified processes to ensure outstanding quality and performance.
Zebra avoids unnecessary printhead wear by never substituting raw materials and by using specialized materials designed for each labeling application. And the company also uses a 23-point quality approval process, certified to ISO9001:2008 standards, so you know you’re always getting a consistent and high-quality product.
Additionally, if you use Zebra printers and agree to use Zebra supplies exclusively, you also get free printheads whenever they need to be replaced. You’ll pay more up-front due to the superior quality and consistency of Zebra’s supplies, but you’ll save a lot of money over the long run by avoiding printing issues, reprinting costs, scanning disruptions, and costly printhead replacements.
2. Perform regular preventive maintenance, servicing and repair.
Always make sure to maintain and service your printers, and make sure you’re performing professional repairs. And this is where our printer service professionals at The SMS Group can play a crucial role.
We have a number of printer service agreements and options available, and our certified technicians are available and on call to respond quickly to any printer service needs and perform the preventive maintenance and repairs needed to keep your printers performing flawlessly.
We service the entire line of Zebra printers, which often means our technicians can mostly focus on routine preventive maintenance so you don’t have to. But if you ever encounter a problem or issue with a label printer, our experts provide rapid diagnosis and, if needed, on-site repair.
With Zebra printers, certified supplies, and our professional printer maintenance, we can help you minimize your barcode labeling costs while keeping your labeling operations running seamlessly and staying focused on your business.
To learn more about Zebra hardware and supplies, best practices for protecting your printers, and how to get started with our services, contact us now to get started.