Low-Quality Barcode Labels and Supplies

If you’re having problems with downtime in your barcode labeling, scanning, and tracking operations, there’s a good chance it’s due to low-quality barcode labels or a mismatch of the wrong supplies with your environment or application.

This is why it’s important to understand how your barcode label, printer ribbon, and other supplies can negatively impact your barcode scanning and tracking operations.

As a leading supplier of barcoding technologies and solutions, we’ve helped many companies avoid some of the common label and supply issues that can cause the following problems:

  • Frequent workflow disruptions or stop-ships
  • Labels falling off or becoming unreadable
  • Slowdowns and waste due to re-labeling
  • Premature and expensive printhead failures
  • Fines or lost business due to labeling non-compliance

Avoiding these headaches starts with choosing the right barcode labels and supplies for your specific use case, label application, and environment. One of the most important things to know is buying cheap, low-quality labels and supplies will almost always lead to these problems.

Cheap, low-quality labels and printing supplies are made with substandard and inconsistent materials not matched to your specific application and usage requirements, so they cause problems with print quality, label adhesion, and label durability. The wrong labels or supply combination will wear out your printheads faster or damage your printheads and printers.

Also, while barcode labeling seems like a simple and straightforward proposition, there are thousands of different label types, materials, and supplies combinations with different matches for specific use cases and applications. The right label materials, adhesives, and other characteristics need to be matched to each job and to the right printer to ensure label adhesion, durability, and scannability in your labeling and usage environment.

The right labels will also protect your valuable printheads and help you get more life out of your printer because they’re made with high-quality materials that minimize printhead and printer wear, while cheaper and lower-quality labels are typically made with more abrasive materials that can cause a lot of wear and damage over time.

To find the right labels and supplies for your application, it’s usually a good idea to work with a certified label and supplies expert such as our team members at SK&T. This saves time and effort for your procurement, IT, or other team members because there are a lot of factors to know and consider when selecting the right solutions. 

When identifying and recommending the right labels and supplies, we typically focus on a number of key factors:

1. Label Adherence

Label adhesive performance can vary based on the surface type and shape, so we take a look at these and recommend labels that are designed, pretested, and certified to adhere directly to your specific surfaces and materials. This way, you can be confident that the labels you affix to your products, packages, or pallets will remain secured for years.

2. Print and Label Durability

Each thermal label material and ribbon has different resistance levels to temperature, environment, and water or other chemicals, so it can be hard to know which label will tolerate various elements. Our experts have extensive knowledge and resources that help us confirm whether or not a label will endure exposures or contacts with certain chemicals, fluids, radiation, weather elements, and more. This allows us to recommend a proven solution that will deliver great durability under your specific conditions.

3. Printhead and Printer Protection

The hidden, long-term cost of many barcode labels is the amount of wear they cause to your printheads and your printer. The wrong labels and supplies or combination can cause excessive wear and more frequent printhead replacement or printer servicing and repair, which can quickly add up to thousands of dollars in unnecessary costs.

To minimize wear and eliminate printhead replacement costs, our experts recommend Zebra labels and supplies paired with Zebra printers and matched with your specific application. This ensures you get the best-quality and highest-performance labels and supplies, which maximizes your printhead and printer life. Also, if you use Zebra printers and sign up for Zebra’s Printhead Replacement Program, agreeing to use Zebra supplies exclusively, when your printheads eventually need routine replacement, they’ll be provided at no cost to you.

4. Label Compliance Requirements

It’s not always easy to confirm which labels are suitable for use on electronics, food and beverage items, medical devices, automobile components, and other products where ID labels are required to have special markings. Our labeling experts quickly identify which labels are compliant for your purposes, whether you need to meet UL/cUL, FDA 175.105, UID, Globally Harmonized System (GHS), Unique Device Identification (UDI), GM 14573, or other standards.

5. Label Quality and Authenticity

This isn’t broadly advertised, but many labels and printing supply manufacturers substitute materials when they produce labels, ribbons, and other components. This can severely and negatively impact the quality and performance of your labels, so ensuring consistency is another reason why we work with Zebra to provide our customers with top-quality labels and supplies. Zebra never substitutes materials or ribbon formulations once they’re specified for a given application, so you always get the exact same supplies at the exact same quality, and they’re ISO 9001:2015 certified via strict quality control processes to ensure reliable, consistent performance.

These are the core factors we typically review and consider when recommending labels and supplies to eliminate downtime and ensure smooth, uninterrupted printing, labeling, and scanning.

To learn more about how to avoid scanning and tracking downtime and to get help with finding the right labels and supplies for your needs, contact our team at SK&T for more expert advice and specific recommendations. We’d be happy to help.