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Many warehouses and retail locations rely on large shipments of preprinted labels to mark their inventory. However, there are a number of advantages to investing in on-site digital barcode printing equipment and printing your own barcode labels.

Why install printers when you can work with a third-party supplier or service bureau? Here are five good reasons to print your own labels:

1. Lower costs. By printing labels in house, you can eliminate all of the shipping, handling and additional fees charged by a third-party supplier. You can also avoid extra charges associated with small print runs or emergency orders.

Having barcode printers on-site also saves time. Instead of sending templates to a third-party printer and hoping they can fit your order into their schedule, you can print your own barcode labels any time that is convenient. Speed and accuracy are critical in the supply chain — being able to print accurate labels in real time can reduce delays.

If you are worried about the cost or time required to maintain and operate barcode printers, there are plenty of industrial solutions that offer ease of use and high reliability. The Zebra ZT200 series of industrial printers, for example, were designed to shorten servicing time and consumable replacement time with tool-less platen and printhead removal, side loading of media, among other features.

2. Flexibility. When you print your own barcode labels, you can easily create short runs of seasonal labels. You can also print labels as needed, with a greater ability to respond to unexpected increases or decrease in demand because you don’t have to order labels in advance.

Modern barcode printers also make it easier to adjust your print operations to customer needs. One example is the Zebra ZT400 series, which supports end user installable media handling options so that the printer can be easily customized. If customer label requirements change, you can respond quickly.

With an in-house color label printer, companies have the flexibility to print labels instantly, changeover packaging lines quickly, and begin labeling as soon as possible.

Customization is also easier because you don’t have to place multiple orders with the outsourcing company. You can quickly and easily switch label templates on demand.

3. Reduced Label Inventory. Instead of ordering a large batch of labels in advance and hoping that you’ve accurately forecast how many you’ll need, the ability to print your own barcode labels allows you to switch to a just-in-time production model. This can help reduce the overall label inventory, and eliminate the need to store large amounts of preprinted labels.

If you have large stacks of labels, they can get damaged, become yellowed or dirty, or lose their adhesive properties. On-demand printing helps avoid these problems.

4. Increased Revenue. If you have the ability to print your own barcode labels you can conceivably create new revenue streams by offering printing services for other companies when the printers would otherwise be idle. You could potentially even become an internal label service bureau for other locations or divisions within your company. With a color digital printer, you can offer new types of labeling services to customers, such as custom private label generation, color labeling, and other services at a premium.

5. Increased Control. By investing in the hardware needed to print your own barcode labels, you can control the entire label production process and eliminate the risk associated with outsourcing. You won’t be dependent on the reliability of the third-party vendors’ facilities or shipping capabilities.

By storing all of your label templates internally, you can also more easily locate and print all previous designs on demand. When label changes are needed, you can universally make those alterations across all of your printing locations, without having to worry about communicating those changes to a label provider.

You can also improve label accuracy by performing your own quality control checks internally to ensure the label format, data, and quality meet your customers’ requirements. This can help eliminate shipping errors and avoid costly chargebacks, while improving customer service. You can also avoid missed shipments, since you wont’ be waiting on preprinted labels to arrive.

By making the investments to print your own barcode labels, you can streamline your labeling processes, reduce costs, eliminate waste, and improve label quality/accuracy, while also improving customer service.

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