When it’s time to buy labels and supplies for industrial printers, enterprises face many different choices. And with those different choices come many different price points and levels of quality in the products. The number of labels and supply choices may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, choosing the best labels and supply for your industrial printer comes down to one simple criterion: do they come from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)?

As this article will demonstrate, there are significant differences between labels and supplies from the OEM and supplies from elsewhere. And the differences go much deeper than just their origins and price points. Choosing the wrong industrial printer labels and supplies can have significant impacts on your enterprise’s productivity, as well as the life of your printer. But first, let’s explain some of the critical differences between OEM labels and supplies and ones from private or third-party manufacturers.

Differences Between OEM Printer Labels/Supplies & Third-Party Ones

The first significant difference between the two parties of printer labels and supplies, where they come, should come as no surprise. OEM parts come from the printer’s manufacturer and are designed specifically for each unique piece of equipment. Private or third-party manufacturer parts come from a company unrelated to the original manufacturer and are designed to be compatible with as many products as possible. Because OEM labels and supplies are designed specifically for the printer within your enterprise, they reduce the required equipment maintenance while maximizing its productivity and lifespan.

There is also a difference in the upfront cost of OEM printer labels and supplies and those from a third-party. OEM labels and supplies may come at a slightly higher price point, which can discourage end-users. However, the lower cost of third-party supplies often sacrifices several aspects of the label and supplies, as well as the printer itself, including:

Quality – Frequently, private or third-party manufactured printer labels and supplies are not composed of the same high-quality materials as those from the OEM. Only the OEM truly knows each printer, its design, and the rigors of the environment it will be operating in. Because the OEM knows these aspects so well, the design composition of the printer’s components, labels, and supplies are held to the highest quality standards.

Performance – As previously mentioned, OEM supplies and labels are designed specifically for their printers. The seamlessness between the printer’s design and its label and supplies enables the highest performance of the printer. Private manufacturers’ labels and components are simply compatible with the OEM’s printers and their design doesn’t aid in improving the printer’s performance.

Durability – Part of designing labels and supplies for OEM printers comes from having the end-user in mind. The high-quality materials used to make OEM parts can withstand rigors of harsh environments that can deteriorate them and lead to dips in production and other operational inefficiencies. Privately manufactured labels and supplies may not have been given the same considerations during design and build, leading to illegible labels, and even lessening the printer’s lifespan.

Reliability – Very similar to durability, using OEM labels and supplies helps ensure the reliable function of your printer throughout its life. Private manufacturers of supplies and labels don’t take the same steps to ensure their components help your printer remain reliable throughout its usable life.

Selection – with OEM labels and supplies, you know exactly what you need, how much of it, and when because the OEM guided you through the process of using and replenishing them. With private label supplies and labels, the end-user needs to research and do due diligence to ensure they find the components that are compatible with their printer, taking time and labor awayfrom their enterprise.

Warranty – OEM labels and supplies come with a warranty, but those from private manufacturers generally don’t. Further, using third-party manufacturer labelsand supplies have the potential to void the warranty of the printer.

Upfront Cost Isn’t the Only Cost

Each bullet point above leads to a single destination: the upfront cost of printer supplies and labels isn’t their only cost. While third-party labels, supplies, and components may have a reduced-price tag compared to their OEM counterparts, they also may bring an enterprise additional charges down the road.

If an enterprise uses labels, supplies, and components that aren’t explicitly designed for its printers, it faces some potential operational challenges and negative financial impacts. First, ensuring printed labels are legible, scannable, and fully functioning is essential to your workforce’s productivity. If staff is taking time to reprint and relabel items, that’s a production inefficiency that could have been avoided. This lost production can really add up over time.

And even if third-party labels are legible, scannable, and fully functioning, they still hold the risk of being detrimental to a printer’s lifespan. If private party labels, components, and supplies are the cause of a printer becoming irreparable, the warranty can be voided entirely. This leaves the enterprise faced with not only the financial dilemma of investing and implementing a new printer, it also leaves the workforce unable to execute critical printing task, which further slow productivity. With all that at risk, is saving a penny or two per label really worth it?

There is definitely a lot to consider when purchasing labels, supplies, and components for enterprise industrial printers. The right choice is the one that is most beneficial to your enterprise’s productivity, efficiency, and, ultimately, bottom line. And that choice, nearly every time, is purchasing replacement parts from the printer’s OEM.

At Informs, Inc., we’re labeling experts. Contact us and our team will show you what label will work best for your printer while maximizing your savings. We can also discuss OEM incentive programs, like this printhead replacement program from Honeywell, designed to save you money and minimize printer downtime.