How to buy cheap labels - Tip#1: Layout

One simple, but often overlooked, method of reducing label cost is by changing the layout. If you're printing narrow labels one-across on a 4" printhead it's time to listen up!

Moving from a 2" wide x 4" long label to 4" wide x 2" long format will give you almost double the number of labels per roll. This provides several key cost-cutting benefits:

  • First, it reduces manufacturing overhead required to slit and finish each roll. Whether your converter decides to pass along the savings is another story. But you should ask.
  • This configuration also requires less media change-outs, so your operators spend less time and man hours replacing empty rolls. This is especially useful if you're running your printers continuously for multiple shifts. Downtime is expensive!
  • If you're using a 4" prinhead you'll essentially be doubling the life of the head. Even if you're lucky enough to get free printheads it takes time to swap those puppies out. You're also going to experience reduced print quality as the head nears the end of its life, which could cause unreadable barcodes further down the supply chain. 
  • Lastly, depending on how your labels are packaged, you may see a drop in shipping or freight charges because you'll shipping less rolls.

Another change you could make if you're printing narrow labels on a 4" wide printhead is to run them two or three across. So, say you're printing a 1" wide label on a 4" head, you can run those same labels two or three wide. You'll be extending the life of your printhead by as many times and you'll require less media change-outs, which equals more throughput. Your platen roller and your printer operator will both thank you. 

The next time you send out an RFQ be sure to ask about rotating the format to utilize the full width of the printhead. Or, consider running your labels two or three across. In many cases these change can be made without affecting your existing print and apply process.