Top 10 Benefits of Printing Labels In-House

It’s no secret that printing labels in-house offers businesses a breadth of benefits and has become an integral part of a company’s packaging production process.  Today, thousands of manufacturers, processors, and retailers around the world are increasing their sales revenue and profit margins by producing their own color labels in their factories and offices.

Printing labels on-demand provides benefits, like:

Benefit #1: Private Labeling

Private labeling has exploded over the last decade, especially in the food, beverage, cosmetic, chemical, medical, CBD, and dietary supplement industries.  Studies have shown most consumers prefer to buy private label or store brand labeled goods because of the higher perceived quality or value that the product provides.  Manufacturers who use in-house color label printers are able to command a competitive edge in the marketplace and a greater market share serving more customers with privately labeled products that are quickly customized in affordable, short-run label quantities.

QL-120X | Food Labels

Benefit #2: Produce Labels Instantly

Having the ability to print the exact number of labels you want, anytime you need them, affects more than product marketing, it’s also a tool to increase productivity by making labels on-demand. Even the best forecasting and purchasing practices can leave the packaging department hunting for labels at the last minute. For manufacturers with a family of multiple products, having the right label in inventory at the right time for the right product is often a challenge – easily fixed with in-house printing. With an in-house color label printer, manufacturers have the flexibility to print labels instantly, changeover packaging lines in minutes, and immediately start labeling new products.

Benefit #3: Cut Costs & Reduce Inventory

In-house label printing cuts costs for short-run, small quantity labels and simultaneously allows businesses to replace inventories with lean, just-in-time production practices.
Even with the best inventory management practices, it is difficult to predict how many labels will actually be used before products or label designs change. Additionally, the economics of traditional label printing requires print houses to ask to purchase large quantities of labels, usually more than you need at the current time. As a result, rolls of purchased labels perpetually remain in inventory. After a long period of storage, labels may become dirty, damaged, or yellowed and can lose adhesive properties. The labels, or even the products to which the labels
will be applied, may also become obsolete before they are used.

Benefit #4: Gain Production Flexibility – Label Any Product, Any Time

Traditionally, full-color primary display labels were printed off-site by a commercial label print house, while “back panel” labels with product-specific text and barcodes were printed in-house on a simple barcode label printer.  Today, QuickLabel printers have changed the label printing workflow by bringing it entirely in-house. For example, with QuickLabel, both the primary display “front panel” full-color label and the product-specific text and barcode “back panel” label can be printed simultaneously, in a single print pass.

The traditional labeling process:
  1. Design labels
  2. Order labels
  3. Wait for label proofs
  4. Makes changes
  5. Wait for second label proof
  6. Accept and return proof
  7. Wait to receive printed labels
  8. Receive and inventory labels
  9. Apply labels
The QuickLabel labeling process:
  1. Design labels
  2. Print your own proof
  3. Make changes on the fly
  4. Print labels
  5. Apply labels

Benefit #5: Maintain In-House Quality Control

For companies in highly regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, hazardous chemicals, and increasingly, dietary supplements and foods, it’s critical for the packaging process to meet quality standards established by third-party auditors and maintained by in-house quality management systems.  With a QuickLabel printer, it costs nothing to add or remove label content, a benefit to companies in regulated industries where required label changes are a costly fact of life. Country of Origin labeling legislation, more stringent labeling disclosures and new GHS chemical hazard labeling requirements are recent examples of governmental labeling standards that have caused companies to completely revamp their labels. Creating color labels on-demand with an in-house QuickLabel printer allows your company to ensure that it maintains strict control over labels so that your production operation is always able to label the right product, for the right customer, at the right time.

Benefit #6: One Pass Label Printing – including dates, barcodes, and serialization

Quality Control managers are relieved of many of the stringent regulatory burdens that apply to labels because all information can be printed on the fly, including serializing
barcodes, lot codes, batch codes, and expiration dates. Labels can be printed physically close to the product receiving the label, reducing the possibility of human error in the labeling process and eliminating the need to stock printed labels in inventory, and to quarantine and discard obsolete labels.

Benefit #7: Reduce Delivery Time to Market

Now more than ever, customer convenience and keeping up with demand are high priorities for most companies.  Consumers not only expect things faster, but product demands have never been higher, especially for industries like medical, pharmaceutical, sanitation, and food and beverage.  With an in-house label printer, print labels on-demand and get shipments out the door to retailers and customers faster, easier, and more efficiently, reducing lengthy and unnecessary downtimes.

Benefit #8: Be Ready to Ship Labeled Products at Any Time

At one time or another, production managers have been in the predicament of not being able to ship products to a waiting customer. The result is often missed deadlines, costly expedited shipments, backorders, reduced profitability, and lost revenue. In these cases, awaiting customers may decide to choose an alternate vendor rather than wait to receive a late shipment.
Owning an in-house label printer takes the unpredictability out of label availability. As long as managers maintain a stock of printing supplies, they are always ready to print the labels they need.

Benefit #9: Produce Short-Runs

There are a variety of perks attributed to producing short-runs.  Some which include providing consumers with limited-time offerings like seasonal flavorings for holidays, producing customized products for customers, eliminating unnecessary waste by not printing more than you need, or simply the flexibility of running a small, limited batch of labels for any variety of reasons.  One instance we’ve seen of this is companies switching their production process to meet the needs of their community by producing sanitation or protection supplies in difficult times like COVID-19.

Benefit #10: Offer Contract Labeling

Contract packagers provide custom labeling services to businesses that want to outsource packaging services, both to control quality and costs. If you are a professional contract packager, you already understand the revenue-producing value of flexible, in-house label printing. If you’re a company considering the purchase of a color label printer for your own use, you may also be able to benefit by providing labeling services to other companies in your geographic area or industry. The flexibility of owning a color label printer allows owners to act as contract packagers, making labels in any size, shape, or design, satisfying the branding requirements and technical requirements of customers. Printing labels as a service will allow you to increase revenue and profit while also absorbing excess production capacity.

Have any questions on how QuickLabel can help or more specifically how owning an in-house label printer can breathe new life into your business? Contact us for more information or a free consultation today!

Counterfeit is Unfit: Preventing Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals with 2D Barcodes

In light of the recent discovery of counterfeit Avastin, a cancer infusion drug, making its way into the US market, many are left wondering how to avoid such issues in the future. Part of the answer is printing labels with smart barcodes that contain valuable traceability information. Don’t worry, QuickLabel printers can help.


Current FDA Labeling Standards for Pharmaceuticals

Currently, pharmaceutical labels are regulated by a 2004 FDA rule requiring manufacturers to print a 10-digit linear barcode which encodes the product’s National Drug Code (NDC) either on the package or on a label.

This rule was put into place primarily to prevent medications from being mixed up and given out incorrectly, which had become an issue. Hospitals and physicians’ offices could easily scan the drug to ensure it was the correct one, even right at the patient’s bedside. Although this system is efficient in preventing bedside mix ups, it hasn’t helped to prevent counterfeit drugs from entering the market.

The Need for a New FDA Standard

In October of 2011, the FDA announced that they would be reviewing the 2004 labeling rule.

Now that it is known that an imitation version of Avastin made its way into the United States supply chain, and into hospitals and physicians’ offices around the country, it is possible that a new labeling system may be established.

It is widely assumed that the FDA will eventually require that pharmaceutical manufacturers use better labeling solutions to ensure drug security – the question is, how?

Are 2D Barcodes on Pharmaceutical Labels the Answer?

The state of California has taken the lead in
preventing counterfeit pharmaceuticals from reaching the market in their state. California has enacted what is called an “e-Pedigree” requirement. Under the “e-Pedigree,” pharmaceutical companies must encode a barcode with serial number, lot number, and other information by 2015, ensuring that each individual package can be tracked and traced throughout its supply chain lifespan.

It is possible to fit this information into a linear barcode, but doing so would make the label on the package an awkwardly large size. Instead, manufacturers who want to comply with the California law must turn to space-saving 2D barcodes such as GS1 DataMatrix.

Mark J. Goldberger, MD, MPH, divisional vice president, Regulatory Policy & Intelligence, Abbott Laboratories believes in updating the 2004 rule to comply with GS1 data standards. “Using GS1 standards, manufacturers could choose the appropriate data carrier type for the package size and market,” Goldberger explains.

Health Care Labeling and GS1 DataMatrix   

The GS1 DataMatrix 2D barcode is useful in the healthcare industry because it can be used to improve patients’ safety through better identification and traceability. Most commonly, a Global Trade Number (GTIN), Expiration Date, and Batch Number are embedded into Datamatrix healthcare codes.

The GTIN is a globally unique ID number that can be used throughout the healthcare industry to meet many of the industry requirements. Healthcare industry barcoding requirements include:

  • Ensuring the right drug is used at the point of administration
  • Providing efficiency in product ordering and cost re-imbursement schemes
  • A globally recognized system of identification and bar coding
  • A reference key for ensuring compliance to any local regulatory requirements (e.g., in the many countries where it is necessary for the national government to approve a drug or medicine before it can be made available on the market (or available to doctors to prescribe)

GS1 Data Matrix may be printed either as a square or as a rectangle composed of individual dots or squares. The data is encoded using a series of dark or light dots based upon a pre-determined size.

The size of a DataMatrix code is determined by the amount of information the code is going to hold. The more information there is, the larger the size the code will be. The most common DataMatrix code is the code in the shape of a square because it can retain the most information.

You Can Print 2D Barcodes with a QuickLabel Color Label Printer 

When you think of a color label printer, barcodes may not necessarily be what comes to mind. But actually, all QuickLabel full color label printers are able to print 2D barcodes such as GS1 Datamatrix, in addition to printing colors, logos, and text.

Once you have registered with GS1 and received your unique code, you can create your own 2D barcode using Custom QuickLabel software or NiceLabel software. Using the intuitive labeling software, just enter the appropriate traceability information to encode the 2D barcode. Then, you are ready to print – GS1 Datamatrix barcode, color graphics and all – with the confidence your products are tracebable throughout the global supply chain.

The Vivo! Touch, with its high-speed color label printing, is your full package printing solution. You’ll be printing full color labels 2D bar codes on-the-fly, ready to tackle any label job that comes your way – quickly and efficiently.

More Resources:

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a GS1 member, check out the GS1 website!

If you are interested in learning about how you could incorporate the GS1 DataMatrix 2D barcode onto your product label, visit the QuickLabel website!