Although labels don't represent your largest expenditure, they are commonly used across numerous applications so the expenditures can add up. Everyone likes to save a few bucks. Use these tips to reduce label costs.

How to reduce label costs

Ben Franklin said, “Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship.” Although supplies like labels may not represent your largest expense, they are a common product required for numerous applications in your operation. Cutting costs will impact profitability. Use these tips to help you reduce label costs.

More Can Be Less

Order quantity impacts cost. As with many purchases, you can reduce your unit cost by increasing the order quantity. Blanket orders are an effective way to increase the order quantity and reduce label costs. If you don’t have the inventory space or just want to spread your costs out over a longer time frame, blanket orders provide an opportunity to lock into lower costs over a longer time horizon. A blanket order is a purchase order the customer makes with its supplier which contains multiple delivery dates over a period of time. It is normally used when there is a recurring need for a consumable product. There are different types of blanket order programs that vary depending upon your needs.

Advance Stock Allotment Program (ASAP)

Reserve an entire year of stock product and qualify for volume discounts. You can pre-schedule shipments throughout the year. You are billed after each individual shipment. You conserve storage space while benefiting from volume pricing.

Custom Storage Program (CSP)

Ideal for regularly ordered custom products. It allows you to produce a several month quantity which is stored until you need it. Like the ASAP program, you benefit from volume discounts, save on storage costs and are invoiced only upon shipment. The product can be inventoried at a warehouse near your facility which can further reduce freight costs. If you use a variety of different labels, there are programs that evaluate your purchases and identify lower cost alternatives.

The Label Economic Analysis (LEAN) Program

Evaluates your current label purchases and spots alternatives that can reduce label costs. Just provide a list of items that you currently use. The products and processes will be evaluated to determine lower cost options. This type of analysis typically uncovers significant cost savings. In addition to blanket orders, price breaks can be applied to individual and comparable products. When ordering, think about the items you need and then combine together to shave costs. Potential candidates for price breaks include Dymo and Zebra Printer Labels, Drug Syringe Labels and Lab Labels.

Size Matters

For some applications there are standard sizes you have to use. However, when possible look for smaller size options. If you are designing a label to print out on a desktop printer, will a 3” x 5” size work instead of a 4” x 6”? Making these type of adjustments can significantly reduce label costs.

For example:

  • 500 - 3” x 5” labels = 7,500 square inches
  • 500 - 4” x 6” labels = 12,000 square inches

Your savings is over 37%! Plus, ordering a smaller item reduces the label cost and more. The less a product weighs, the cheaper it is to ship. As shipping costs continue to increase, reducing freight can add up to a significant savings.

Compare Materials

Stock labels are typically a cost effective option. In addition to price, you benefit from a product produced with materials that are appropriate for the application. You don’t have to worry about materials or adhesives. However, when using a stock label for a different application or developing a custom label, pay attention to materials. They significantly impact cost.

Labels are manufactured using a face stock, or top layer, an adhesive and a backing sheet. Using standard material and a basic permanent or removable adhesive will help keep costs in check.

Matching materials to the application is another way to reduce label costs. Understanding the conditions, the substrate (the surface onto which the label is applied), the handling and printing requirements, if any, will guide your selection and ensure a cost effective choice.

Get specific details on what to consider when buying a label, here.

Stock vs. Custom

Products such as laser sheets, thermal rolls and medication labels are used for a wide variety of applications. Because of the mass appeal, they are built in large quantities, kept in stock, and are available to purchase, economically, in small quantities. However, you sometimes require a product different than the stock item. Perhaps you need a name, address or other custom information. Adding that custom information to a pre-set template is an economical solution. The template provides cost advantages similar to common stock items. Materials, adhesives, colors and face stocks are the same but the template allows you to customize the copy to your specific needs. Although there are charges for the customization, the costs are far less than a completely custom product.

Reduce Waste

Usage studies on printed products, such as labels, show that more than 80% of the cost is associated with the process surrounding the product, not the product itself. Printers, label dispensers and material storage practices are just a few of the processes that can all lead to unnecessary increases in your overall cost.

Know Your Printer Settings - Appropriate printer settings will maximize the print quality, size and orientation. Correct settings will help prevent the need to reprint labels.

If you use a laser printer, and are printing out something for the first time, use paper to proof the information, not a label. Paper is 1/10 the cost. Depending upon the type of printer you use, adjusting the printer settings or properties, for paper type or media, to labels or cards will optimize the print quality.

Use a dispenser that doesn’t cause you to waste a label. If you destroy 1 out of every 25 labels, you just increased your cost by 4%.

Plus, storing your labels properly improves processing, efficiency and reduces cost. Moderate temperatures and humidity will improve the printer output. Storing labels on a shelf or in a cabinet, instead of the floor, makes handling smoother. Be careful to avoid dents or dings that force you to dispose of the damaged product.

Minimizing these issues also reduces the time your staff has to deal unnecessary problems. Taking these steps will improve your print quality, reduces jams and help you get the most value out of the dollars you spend on label products.

United Ad Label Stock & Custom Labels

United Ad Label provides over 4,000 stock labels and a custom label designer tool that helps our clients reduce label costs. Click here to learn more.