Ordering Custom Labels? Choose Two: Quick, Cost or Quality

Exploring "The Iron Triangle" as it relates to custom printing

time cost quality

Have you ever heard that expression about the three opposing constraints of production? When it comes to developing something new, you can only pick two from these criteria: quick, good or cheap – you can’t have all three! Project managers call it “The Iron Triangle” and it’s based on the reasoning that if you:

1. Produce something fast and high quality, it will cost a lot

2. Produce something fast and inexpensive, it will be poor quality

3. Produce something inexpensive and high quality, it will take a long time

In the business of custom label printing, these are real forces that apply pressure and people making buying decisions are often faced with this trifecta conundrum. Who doesn’t want a quality label at a reasonable cost in a short amount of time? Why can’t we have all three? That’s a good question! Let’s investigate.

First of all, a “quick turnaround” is somewhat nebulous criteria because time is a subjective experience! What feels reasonably “quick” is to one person may be “too long to wait” for someone else. Turnaround times do vary dramatically when ordering custom labels because many factors contribute to the amount of time necessary to produce a unique custom label, such as print method or special specifications. You might see a turnaround time as quick as 24 hours for some products, and as long as a month for others.

Everyone wants a deal – there is no blame or shame in that! But in order to recognize a deal, you must know the value of something by understanding the relationship between its cost and the price. The cost of custom labels is directly associated with quality of materials and distinctiveness of specifications. Many first-time buyers don’t know what to expect for cost, so it’s important to do some research, read customer reviews and gather quotes from a couple different printers. If you’ve got questions about the price of something – don’t hesitate to ASK!

Quality, perhaps more so than these other factors, is about expectations. Obvious quality requirements in custom labels are consistent ink coverage, clean cut lines and easy removal from the liner, all things you would expect from any custom label order. More specific quality identifiers would be depth of emboss, crispness of text and longevity of materials, all things that can vary in results on any given order for a multitude of reasons. Everyone’s quality barometer is gauged by their individual expectations and experience with a product.

These factors are all important when purchasing custom labels and there are indeed instances when all three can be achieved! However, given the biased nature of these notions, it’s impossible to fulfill all three of them in all cases. But there is no harm in trying – give us a call and let’s discuss the scope of your project!

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