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Is Your Warehouse Ready for Industrial Label Printers?

Label printing is a basic function in most warehouse and shipping operations. From carton, pallet and shipping labels, to RFID tags, your label printing workflows are easy to take for granted. Until, of course, they turn into a bottleneck. When that happens, it’s a sure sign that your business is ready for new printers.

Here are some of the most common reasons many warehouses and distribution operations need new label printers:

  • More capacity: It could be something as simple as a rise in demand that’s overtaxing the capacity of desktop label printers.
  • Too much downtime: The warehouse environment can be a rough place—too rough for many printers.
  • Time-consuming device management: As equipment gets old, it requires more and more IT support, and it gets harder and harder to integrate with other systems.

Whether you’re dealing with one of those factors or a combination, it may be time to upgrade to industrial label printers that are purpose-built for warehouse and shipping applications. This one step will give you higher capacity, boost durability to reduce downtime, and make it far simpler for your IT team to manage your printers and integrate them with other systems.

The industrial printer space offers many choices. Direct thermal vs. thermal transfer. Output capacity. Label width. Print speed and resolution. RFID capability. Media handling options. At first, the choices can seem overwhelming, but they’re actually a good thing, because they give you the ability to select a printer that’s tailored to your exact requirements.

Our experience has shown that most warehouse and shipping operations can simplify the task of selecting an industrial label printer by focusing on the lineup from Zebra Technologies. From entry-level models that offer affordable performance and durability, all the way up to high-performance models that deliver maximum print speeds and a range of options, Zebra offers durable, high-capacity industrial printers at a range of price points to meet virtually any requirement.

Zebra’s industrial printer lineup includes both direct-thermal and thermal-transfer industrial printers. That makes it easy to choose the right printing method based on the lifespan, durability, and other characteristics of the labels needed for your applications. And Zebra offers a range of entry-level, midrange, and high-performance printers in both the 4-inch and 6-inch print class. Finally, no matter which Zebra industrial printer you choose, Zebra understands you don’t have time to battle downtime, so every Zebra printer is engineered to perform for years to come.

Here’s a brief overview of two models from Zebra’s top-selling industrial printer lineup.

Zebra ZT510 Industrial Printer

The ZT510 has been engineered to strike the ideal balance between performance and value, delivering the core features you need in an industrial printer at a cost-effective price point. It offers a 4-inch print width for thermal transfer and direct thermal printing applications at speeds up to 12 inches per second, which makes it perfect for medium duty applications. It’s built with a metal frame for added durability and long-lasting reliability in warehouse environments.

Zebra ZT600 Series Industrial Printers

The ZT600 Series includes the 4-inch ZT610 and the 6-inch ZT620 industrial printers. Both models offer direct-thermal and thermal-transfer printing at 203 or 300 DPI. The ZT610 also offers enhanced high-resolution printing at 600 DPI. Maximum prints speed reaches 12 inches per second with the ZT620 and 14 inches per second with the ZT610. Both models feature a metal frame and bi-fold metal media cover with an enlarged clear viewing window that makes it easier than ever to keep track of print media. Built-in thermal management eliminates the need for vents or cooling fans, blocking dust and debris for trouble-free operation even in challenging environments. RFID capability is available as a field-installable option with both the ZT610 and ZT620.

To learn more about the benefits of upgrading to industrial label printers and explore Zebra’s full industrial printer portfolio, please contact your Tri-State Business Systems representative today.



Two Steps You Absolutely Must Take to Ensure Printing Problems Don’t Slow Your Business.

For distribution companies, fulfillment operations, and just about any business with a warehouse or shipping operation, the fourth quarter of the calendar year is the busiest season of the year. The big driver, of course, is consumer activity related to everything from back-to-school spending to holiday shopping, which drives an increase in shipping volume that is felt in just about every corner of the economy.

Of course, a Q4 spike in business activity is nothing new. What’s unique, however, is adapting to the seasonal demand in the face of post-COVID supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. Many forecasters thought these challenges would be in the rear-view mirror by now, but anyone paying attention to the real world knows they are with us for the foreseeable future.

That means business leaders need to focus on the productivity and resiliency of every area of their operations, including the seemingly mundane printer workflows that are essential to so many businesses. After all, if your printers can’t meet demand—even for want of something as simple as a ribbon or labels—shipments will grind to an inevitable halt.

We recommend that every business takes two specific steps to prevent unexpected printing obstacles from becoming a barrier to productivity. These steps are especially important as volume spikes in Q4, but given the ongoing reality of supply chain and labor challenges, they’re steps that will pay off all year around for most businesses.

Step 1: Get a Handle on Ribbon and Label Inventory

Few things stall shipping operations faster or more completely than running out of ribbons or labels. At a minimum, running short of supplies will slow you down for at least a shift or two. If you’re lucky, your supplier will be able to get you back up to speed in a day or two. But two years of ongoing supply chain disruption has taught us that ribbons and labels could be backordered just when you need them.

The reality of today’s supply chain requires a different approach to mission-critical supplies. At a minimum, shippers should expand their reserve/reorder thresholds to create a larger cushion of mission-critical ribbons and labels. Sure, reordering earlier means investing in more inventory, but that’s a small cost to pay if it keeps your operation humming.

Giving your business a slightly bigger inventory reserve is the minimum you should consider. In many businesses, it makes sense to work with your suppliers to create a blanket or yearly order with quarterly shipping plans. Tri-State Business Systems works closely with manufacturers like Zebra to put together make-and-hold programs that help ensure the specific ribbons and labels you use will be available when you need them.

Step 2: Match Your Ribbons and Labels to Your Applications

When it comes to printer supplies, one of the most common problems we see is customers using thermal printer ribbons and labels that aren’t the best match for their applications. There are literally hundreds of ribbon formulations in the marketplace, but they aren’t all compatible with specific types of labels. And, even when you are using compatible ribbons and labels, the specific combination might not be the best fit for your application.

Using the wrong ribbons and labels can create a range of problems. The most obvious is label lifespan and durability. This generally isn’t a big issue for labels that have a relatively short lifespan, such as shipping labels. But it can be a significant problem for special-purpose labels that need to stay in circulation for long periods of time (e.g., labels on UL-Listed electronics) or labels that are exposed to extreme conditions (e.g., weather, chemicals, etc.). These are problems that usually result in the need to reprint and reapply labels, which is an unnecessary labor expense that makes it even more difficult for warehouses and distributors to cope with already tight labor conditions.

It’s also possible that you’re using ribbons or labels that unnecessarily slow your printer productivity. Our partners at Zebra recently shared the experience of a multi-site distribution operation that was using a ribbon/label combination that allowed for about 50% faster label printing in one of their facilities. Adopting the same ribbon and label solution at the company’s other facility saved 20 hours a week of printer time—that’s two and a half shifts where an employee could focus on something other than printing. With labor as tight as it is now, it makes sense to look carefully at these areas of operation to see if you can find similar savings from something as simple as changing printer ribbons and label stock.

If printer supplies like ribbons and labels are critical to your productivity, contact Tri-State Business Systems for help working out a supply strategy that ensures you always have the tools you need to succeed. We are a Zebra Certified Supplies Specialist, which enables us to provide nationwide service and support for Zebra printers and supplies.


Are You Paying These Hidden Labeling Costs?

Barcode labels seem simple, but they’re business critical. The right label conveys a quality brand, scans easily, stays adhered, and helps make sure the right products get to the right customers. But many companies buy the wrong labels and pay the hidden costs later:

  • Reprinting and reapplying labels because they fall off or won’t scan
  • Workflow interruptions caused by barcode labeling and printing issues
  • Replacing expensive printheads too often

Do these headaches sound familiar to you? If so, there’s a better alternative: Zebra and TSBS!

Get Better Results with Quality Zebra Supplies

Genuine Zebra supplies are pre-tested and manufactured with the right composition to deliver the best possible adhesion, scannability, durability, and printhead lifespan.

  • Minimize print downtime and unexpected printhead failure
  • Ensure high-quality, durable, and scannable printing
  • Improve your operational productivity and efficiency
  • Lower your total cost of printer ownership
  • Ensure brand consistency and customer satisfaction

Unsurpassed Selection and Quality

Zebra has a complete selection of labels and supplies, including more than 500 stock products and over 1,000 combinations for virtually any format, printing requirement, or the environment. When you choose Zebra, you get high-quality, reliable labels, ribbons, and supplies for the most demanding requirements—including indoor/outdoor use, sunlight and moisture exposure, chemical and abrasion resistance, and much more.

Order Once for the Whole Year

With our Tri-State “Stock and Ship” program, you can buy your Zebra supplies with a single, annual order. Order once and we’ll send your supplies on a fixed schedule. If your demand is suddenly higher, contact us and we’ll promptly ship your next supplies sooner.

100% Guaranteed Printhead Protection

If you use Zebra printers and agree to use genuine Zebra supplies exclusively, you get guaranteed protection against unexpected printhead replacement costs. If you have a printhead that fails prematurely, it will be replaced at no charge!

Learn More and Request a Quote

Getting started with Zebra supplies is easy. Contact our supplies experts at Tri-State Business Systems for a free consultation and quote.

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