You know you need barcode labels, but you’re not seeing what you need in the list of stocked labels. Perhaps you have a special size or shape in mind. Maybe you need a colored logo or graphic printed on the labels. Or you’re just not sure a standard label will survive what you need it to. Here are the 5 things you need to know when you go to get a custom label quote.
1. What is your application?
This is perhaps the most important question to ask. There are many factors that will determine the best label for your needs.
- Is the label going to be exposed to any extreme environmental conditions?
- Will it be exposed to any chemicals or moisture?
- Does it need to be tear resistant or last outdoors for a period of time?
All these things make a difference in what types of substrates and adhesives should be considered when choosing your custom label.
2. What is the size needed?
A label can be made to pretty much any size, however, if your “customization” is, say, just a special adhesive, you may be able to save money by not needing a new tool made. Label manufacturers have thousands of different dies (also called tooling) already made. If a new die has to be made for a label, the cost can range from a few hundred bucks to a few thousand, depending on the label. If you want the label to be 2.0625” x 1.125”, could you use a standard size such as 2.0” x 1.0”?
3. How will the label be printed?
Custom labels can be entirely preprinted and shipped to you ready to use, or you can order blank rolls and do the barcode printing yourself. You can even have a partial preprint done at the label manufacturer, such as a color logo or special text, and you would just print the barcode yourself.
The type of printer you have makes a difference in the materials available for the custom label. Is it a Thermal Transfer printer or a Direct Thermal printer? Desktop or Industrial? This is something the label manufacturer needs to know upfront in order to get you the right label.
4. What is your annual usage?
As with most things, the more you buy, the less per item you pay. Custom labels are no different. With the manufacturing process, many factors are taken into account when pricing custom labels. The time it takes to set up the press, the waste material, actual press run time, material minimums, etc., are all considered when quoting a custom print job. It actually does cost more to run 1,000 labels than it does to run 50,000 labels.
It is usually more cost efficient if you buy in larger quantities. If you don’t want to pay for them all upfront or don’t have anywhere to store them, System ID offers an Agreement to Purchase Blanket Order. This is a contract, usually for one year, which basically says System ID will make and hold your labels and you call them out as needed, paying as they ship.
5. How soon do you need them?
Custom labels are just that… custom. They are not already made, sitting on a shelf, ready to be pulled and shipped out for overnight delivery. The custom quote alone takes anywhere from 24 – 72 hours to complete. Once you decide to order, lead times can be anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks depending on the label. If there is any preprint, you have to allow for artwork and proofing time. That goes for any special die shapes too – a line drawing is done before die is ordered to make sure it is exactly what you need.
This is another good reason to consider Blanket Orders from System ID! You only have the 1-3 week lead time on your initial order, and since System ID is holding the rest of your labels, you can call them out for overnight shipment from then on.
I could probably write an entire book on the different types of custom labels and applications, but I won’t bore you with that just yet! Just think about it for a minute… there is a label on just about everything! The key is, finding the perfect fit. The barcode people at System ID can help you, so don’t lose any sleep worrying about your labels!