Hang Onto Bar Code Sales
The ubiquitous bar code label is a necessity for distributors' portfolios.
While bar-coded labels are a small segment of manufacturers' bottom lines, it is important that they are not overlooked by distributors.
"Bar codes are a low percentage of overall sales, but their contribution to profit is higher," said John Shanley, president of Labels West, Woodinville, Wash. As interest in the product grows and equipment prices plummet, manufacturers are seeing a spike in on-demand bar coded labels.
"Today a great deal of variable printing is done by the end-user," said John Strecker, vice president of sales and marketing for Data Label, Terre Haute, Ind. He noted that low cost, speed and flexibility are driving this need.
But end-user production doesn't necessarily mean label producers have seen sales drop so much as shift, Shanley remarked.
"The availability of inexpensive label printers, bar-coding software and scanners has made it easier for smaller companies to justify the investment," he explained. "The boom for us is in blank label stock and special applications that are more difficult to do on-demand such as protective varnishes and laminates."
The Need to Know
Distributors need to know the desired symbology and other data to properly specify a bar code order. Necessary information includes: the type of bar code, whether it is produced vertically (picket fence) or horizontally (ladder), whether it will be paper or film stock, the number of digits encoded, the height and width of the code, the number of times the label will be printed on, the numbering sequence, the bar code size and position, whether check digits are required and whether a human-readable code must be included.
"We will adjust the speed of the printer accordingly," Strecker explained. "The picket fence can be produced faster than a ladder on a thermal printer and still maintain accurate width and space since any bleed occurs at the top and bottom of the bars".