Landing on a labeling method for your business can be a challenge. On the one hand, the labeling machine is more efficient and saves money in the long run. But hand labeling is often an attractive option for smaller businesses that aren't sure if the investment is worth it for them yet. So which one is best if you're looking to improve your production line?
Since it's such a major investment for your business, it helps to know the pros and cons of both labeling approaches. If you're stuck between the two, this guide is here to help you make a more informed decision.
Hand labeling is generally the choice small business owners gravitate towards. It's much more time-consuming and could potentially lead to more mistakes. But there's the argument that a large, bulky labeler isn't worth the cost. So many will opt for hand labeling to save money on the upfront expense.
Hand labeling doesn't take much effort to get off the ground. All you need is a few employees responsible for the labeling, and you're ready to go. It's also initially cheaper to implement, although it quickly outgrows its usefulness as your business grows.
It could be the right choice for a company that needs to get things moving fast and doesn't have time to handle all the necessary training and installation that comes with using a labeler. But if you're trying to improve your overall output and consistency, it's not going to be the best fit.
A significant drawback of hand labeling is that it will always be less accurate than a machine. Machines are also always faster; while dedicated workers can move quickly to finish a quota, they run the risk of making mistakes while doing so. Hand labeling also puts a cap on how much product you can output. If you don't have the labor to fulfill an order, you'll have to pass on it.
And while hand labeling may seem like a way to save money, that isn't always the case. Between labor costs and expensive mistakes, the reality is that a labeling machine can help you produce products faster and more accurately. In turn, you'll be able to make more money.
Using a Labeling Machine
Labeling machines are the tried-and-true way to go for larger operations. But labeling machines come in many different sizes and fulfill many different needs. While it can cost a bit more to get them up and running, labeling machines are often a worthwhile investment for growth-oriented companies that need better solutions.
There's no doubt that a quality label applicator will be more efficient than hand labeling in virtually every way. They're faster, they make fewer mistakes, allow for much more control, and they can significantly increase your product output.
A labeling machine can also make other processes like inventory or quality control a snap with built-in features that can help employees quickly identify what a product is. There's also no need to go big with labeling machines; plenty of smaller machines or table-top machines work perfectly well as an almost hybrid solution between the two choices.
There are some costs associated with labeling machines that you won't have to worry about with hand labeling. Labeling machines still need to be operated by trained employees, so they do come with their own labor costs. On top of that, you could be paying more upfront before seeing much ROI while also having to shell out for routine maintenance, repairs, or possible upgrades.
Even if there are minor pros to hand labeling for a smaller business, a labeling machine will consistently outperform hand labeling. And though some may be concerned with the high ticket price of a labeler, there are many options that can fit your needs and budget.
If you need some more advice to help you choose the perfect labeling machine, we suggest you download our Practical Guide to Choosing the Right Labeling Equipment. This free guide will tell you everything you need to know so you can buy your new machine or upgrade with total confidence!