Label Writing Cramps

So you’ve got a situation on your hands. You have been handwriting labels for years, but now you notice that productivity isn’t where it should be. You are paying employees for more labor hours, but see about the same or even less output since they are making so many mistakes. Statistics show that 1 out of every 300 written characters will be wrong. Imagine if you are writing hundreds of thousands of characters a day on hundreds of labels? Not only will you be paying for the labor to write those characters, but also for the labor to find and fix those inevitable mistakes.

So, why don’t we put those numbers into dollars?

Hrs/week $12,000/yr
$5.76/hr
$25,000
$12/hr
$50,000
$24/hr
$100,000
$48/hr
1hr/week
52 hrs/year
$300 $624 $1,248 $2,496
2hr/week
104 hrs/year
$599 $1,248 $2,496 $4,992
3hr/week
156 hrs/year
$898 $1,872 $3,744 $7,488
4hr/week
208hrs/year
$1,198 $2,496 $4,992 $9,984
5hr/week
 260hrs/year
$1,497 $3,120 $6,240 $12,480

 

 

HandwritingDepending on what rate you pay your employees, you could be paying as much as $12,480 in direct labor. Imagine all the savings that could occur if you simply switched over to a printed barcode label system, which usually pays for itself within a year thanks to the increase in productivity and the decrease in direct labor.

Not only does barcoding reduce the number of mistakes (almost to zero), it also takes less time to read the label. When it comes to handwriting, we all know that not everyone has the neatest, most legible handwriting. This can be a problem when multiple people are handling specimens. If a person cannot read the label, then more time is invested trying to decipher what the label says.  Another disadvantage of handwriting labels is that many inks, such as a sharpie pen, can smudge, fade or run during handling. The ink can even disappear completely if exposed to chemicals such as alcohol. What good is a laboratory label that cannot stand up to laboratory conditions?

Now, we haven’t even started talking about how much time can be saved when you switch to printed labels. Most software that accompanies data management systems doesn’t even require you to manually type in the barcode…you just scan it (which can take about 2 seconds) and presto… the information is in your database! You no longer have to worry about hitting the wrong key when entering data. This also reduces the time associated with data entry and retrieval, which is another cost-cutting advantage. What is also nice is that some software systems use Microsoft Excel or Access as information storage systems, meaning you do not have to download unnecessary software.

Those are just the obvious advantages of implementing a printed barcode system, but there are a few less apparent ones. For instance, if you are looking to have your barcodes printed for you, Electronic Imaging can provide them in sequential order or from a file from your database. They can be customized with color-coding and/or supplied in multi-part sets to link your samples with the associated paperwork using duplicate numbers. Your labels can alos be specially sized to fit your specimen requirements. (And that is just the tip of the iceberg.)

If prefer to print your own labels, then we offer QuickStart Printing Systems that are easy to set up and use. These systems include a compact desktop printer, software and a label template so you can print your own labels right on-site. You simply choose from popular label sizes and materials made specifically for tough laboratory conditions.  You wouldn’t even have to leave your lab!  Rather than print whole sheets of labels, you can print exactly the right number of labels you need for each test. A QuickStart™ System might also be especially perfect for you if you are printing only a few labels every day rather than large quantities.

When you run out of labels, we also have QuickStart™ Media Kits with compatibly matched labels and ribbons. Packaged so you get the right amount of ribbon for the labels in each kit, you won’t run out of ribbon―saving time and increasing productivity.

To learn more about printing barcode labels, contact our Label Experts or give us a call, 800-535-6987, to start implementing your printed labeling system.

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Electronic Imaging Materials