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Keeping Thermal Printers in Ship-shape for the Holidays

KEEPING THERMAL
PRINTERS
IN
SHIP-SHAPE FOR
THE HOLIDAYS

Blog Post

Avoid a label meltdown during peak shipping demand

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Daffner_David 11-19-18

David Daffner, Vice President
Managed Services

Everyone thinks they’re ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the other busy shopping days that follow through the end of the year. Until they aren’t … because of a small glitch … that leads to a big problem … that ultimately shuts down the whole operation.

Direct thermal printers have the capacity to quickly create labels with legible text and scannable QR and barcodes that can be adhered to packages immediately. This technology uses specialized print heads to imprint information onto chemically-treated, heat-sensitive labels. They have a relatively short lifespan, but these labels are a vital element of shipping fulfillment.

But what happens when direct thermal printers break down or experience complications?

Shipping screeches to a halt

When a label doesn’t adhere to a parcel properly, it can jam automated sorting machinery, becoming damaged, illegible and undeliverable. Labels that detach or become smudged to the point of indecipherability must be returned to the vendor for relabeling. That extra trip can increase the risk of breakage or damage to the merchandise.

If the label falls off in transit, there is no way to identify the recipient. The result? The package doesn’t reach its destination, and a birthday or holiday could be ruined. Without a label, it may not be possible for the package to be returned to the shipper either, meaning the goods are lost for good. The retailer still has to compensate the consumer but has lost credibility in the process – a very costly proposition.

And while that seems bad enough, wait until the complaints start coming in. And those customers tell their family, friends and the world by sharing their stories on social media. The immediate lost revenue while fixing the problem is only compounded by negative word-of-mouth and bad press that follows.

All over a label that only costs a few pennies. Download this infographic for tips on troubleshooting common thermal printer label issues.

The importance of label maintenance

Like any machinery with moving parts, thermal printers require routine preventive maintenance to keep them running at optimum quality and speed. Just like a car requires regular oil changes, printers should be serviced according to the manufacturer’s suggested cleaning and maintenance schedules. Failing to do so can result in poor quality labels and printer break-downs.

During high-volume times, when companies can ill-afford a jam in the shipping process, consider increasing the frequency of cleaning print heads. Although it might seem like an unnecessary disruption in production, it can be well worth the time and effort to reduce the likelihood of experiencing trouble down the road.

Simple label = critical element

What’s inside a package is very important, but so are the packing slip, shipping label and return shipping label. Those elements are key factors to ensuring customer satisfaction, loyalty and repeat business. After all, your brand is on full display with your packaging and helps shape customer perceptions. It’s essential to consider whether your operations are truly ready to handle the upcoming season now, before it’s too late to incorporate any needed changes.

Don’t forget the value you could realize through improvements to your program. Taylor Communications’ clients have seen these results:

  • Label obsolescence cost reduction of 25% or more
  • Total cost of ownership reduction of 15% to 25%
  • Transactional accounting cost reduction of 18% to 25%

This content also appears on Curtis1000.com

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