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7 Guidelines for Choosing the Right Label Consumables
When choosing a consumable, it is critical to understand the business problem you are trying to solve. This will guide your decision-making process as you look at your offerings, as their entire function is to solve the business problem you have identified.
Here are seven questions to ask yourself when choosing supplies:
What will the label be applied or attached to?
You need to consider the material to which the label will be applied. The type of label you need will depend in part on the material it needs to stick to. Labels that work well on cardboard may not perform well on plastic or metal. For example, most businesses ship products in corrugated boxes. However, if you ship in wax boxes and you use adhesive labels designed for corrugated boxes, you will be disappointed when you find that these labels do not stick to your wax boxes.
What size should the label be?
Label size is very important because the information you print on the label needs to be easy to read. It needs to be large enough so that all information, whether it’s an address or a barcode, can be easily read or scanned. Also, it can’t take up too much space, because then you’re wasting valuable space that could be used for other labels, or even for branding purposes (like if you wanted to display your company’s name or logo on the shipping box) . Knowing the function of the label will make it easier to determine the size of the label.
How long do the labels need to last?
After considering the first two guidelines, you need to decide how long the label needs to last. Again, knowing what the tags do should make this question relatively easy to answer. In most cases, address labels don’t need to be that high quality. However, if you are labeling food, or if you want to meet GHS compliance, you need durable products that meet specific requirements.
What environmental elements will the tag come into contact with?
When you consider the material to be labeled, don’t forget the temperature of the environment in which it will be labeled. Will it apply to its surroundings? Cold freezer? Remember: Over the lifetime of a label, it may be exposed to a range of temperatures and elements. For example, if you supply raw chicken to the grocery store, you need a label that can withstand the ambient temperature of the application as well as the temperature of the refrigerator or even the freezer.
You’ll find something similar in blood banks. If you’ve ever donated blood, you’ve probably noticed that they put barcodes on each donor’s bag and tube so they can accurately track and trace the blood, whether it’s in the blood bank, in transit, or in the hospital . The labels on the device are applied at room temperature and then exposed to the warmer temperatures of blood during the donation process. To preserve the blood, it is then frozen, and when it needs to be used, it is thawed back to a warmer temperature.
Additionally, if labels are attached to shipping containers or packages, weather factors such as rain, snow, and high temperatures need to be considered.
Will you print barcode information that needs to be scanned?
If you are printing any information to be scanned, especially barcodes, you may want to print on medium-high quality labels. Low-quality labels can smudge or fade, become unreadable, slow down or even stop operation. Even if your employees are not the ones scanning the labels, your customers may send you pallets and products with unreadable barcodes back, costing you a lot, which you can avoid by using a better supply. .
Do you need any certifications, ie UL/CSA?
You need to identify if any type of certification is required, such as UL/CSA certification. Providing proper certification for your labels ensures that you have the right label portfolio for your application and gives your customers confidence that the printing on your labels will not fray.
How will the labels be printed (thermal, laser, inkjet)?
Finally, you need to decide how to print it. There are several possible methods of printing labels, including thermal printers, laser printers, and inkjet printers. The type of label printer you use can be determined by the amount of printing you perform.
Disclaimer: If your business already has a printer and is reevaluating its label needs, you may have prioritized your method of printing labels over the other criteria on this list. This is understandable, since you probably don’t want to buy brand new hardware. However, it’s worth noting that certain printers are better suited for certain applications, environments, or output levels, offering better performance and a lower total cost of ownership. No matter where you prioritize your label printing method, it’s always important to know which printer will provide the best ROI over time, even if it’s cheaper to stick with the printer you already have.
If you have any questions or need any help selecting label supplies, please contact us!