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Without doubt, your barcode printer operation is vital to your business. Not only does the printer need to work flawlessly during daily operations, the labels and print media you use must also be of the best quality. Often times, you may consider purchasing cheaper printer supplies to lower costs, but you run the risk of learning the hard way that “you get what you pay for.”

Poor quality labels and barcodes can lead to numerous problems for your production process — creating downtime and shortening the life of the barcode printer.  Here are some pitfalls you can avoid by purchasing quality printer supplies:

Poor Quality Printing

When you use subpar printer supplies, you may suddenly notice that labels are starting to degrade sooner than you expected — and perhaps can’t be read with a barcode scanner. If this happens, the code numbers must be input manually by the scanner operator, which could lead to human error. This incorrect data may cause inventory issues and late shipping times to your customer. In addition, you could receive chargebacks or fines for shipments that are undeliverable.

Re-printing Labels

When a long run of barcode labels is printed, but is later determined to be unscannable, they have to be reprinted. Cheaper printer supplies suddenly have a big impact on the bottom line. If the problem was the print media, you must now invest in more reliable media and reprint the line of defective labels. This results in excessive printer use, downtime and lost profits.

Reduced Printhead Life

Due to the initial high cost of printheads, it is essential that it will last as long as possible. Poor quality printer supplies will shorten the overall life of the barcode printhead. Replacing the printhead more frequently also results in downtime and budget-busting spending.  The resulting negative impact is loss of profit for your business.

Printer Malfunction

Printer supplies that are of poor quality can not only ruin the printhead, but can also cause printer errors and potential malfunction of the barcode printer itself.  The cost of production downtime, printhead and label replacement or sending the printer to a repair shop could be devastating to production efficiency and company profits.

Increase the Life of Your Printer

Using the right printer supplies will go a long way in maximizing uptime and in increasing the profit margin for your business.  Here are some things to keep in before you order replacement supplies:

  • Do some honest research. Not all printer supply vendors are the same.  Make sure they rigorously test their labels for optimum performance. They should be of a high quality that resists damage from abrasion or environmental elements they can be exposed to.
  • Check the type of label material and adhesive a vendor uses. You may have product that is exposed to extreme temperature ranges (either cold or hot, humid or dry).  Choose a vendor that is committed to using quality materials on a consistent basis, so you know labels will always perform as expected.
  • How long will the vendor make me wait? The best labels aren’t of much value if you can’t get them when you need them. Look for a vendor that is responsive and reliable with order fulfillment.

Zebra Technologies, for example, designs, produces, and pretests its line of thermal printing supplies to ensure consistent performance.

Choosing to be proactive when the time comes to replace your barcode printer supplies will lead to increased uptime, increased profitability and higher customer satisfaction —  the formula for a successful business.


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