Woman in red jacket scanning a barcode label on a small box in manufacturing facility


6 Reasons You Need a Backup Printing and Labeling Source for Your Workflow

Time to read 6 Minutes
Brother Mobile Solutions
Brother Mobile Solutions

In supply chain operations’ dynamic and fast-paced landscape, businesses face incredible pressure to move goods faster. Printers play a vital role in accurate inventory tracking and the smooth distribution of goods through the supply chain.

However, high-volume jobs and harsh elements are typical of these environments—printer parts can wear out faster under such conditions.

Outmaneuver printer downtime

A seemingly minor printer failure can have a significant impact on your operation. Workflows get disrupted, production lines are held at a standstill, and every hour, day, or week it takes you to get a replacement printer up and running makes it harder to maintain productivity.

Having a reliable secondary printing solution at the ready ensures you can get ahead of printer failure before it starts to have a domino effect on your operation. According to the study research conducted by Endeavor Business Intelligence and sponsored by Brother, 34% of manufacturers experienced challenges getting printer or label inventory in the last 3 years.


34% of manufacturers experienced challenges getting printer or label inventory in the last 3 years.

That’s precisely why waiting until a printer fails to start looking for a replacement is too late:

  • In-stock options for parts or replacements may not be available when you need them.
  • Shipping delays can keep your replacement held up in transit.
  • If you can’t find an exact replacement for your faulty printer, IT may have to install new equipment and train associates how to operate it.

When maintaining productivity in a fast-paced industry, you can’t afford to lose time to printer failures.

Much more than a “Just-in-Case” option

It’s important to remember that secondary printing solutions aren’t just there to bail you out of an emergency. They can also give you the flexibility to work smarter and boost efficiency. Diversifying your printer arsenal with ready-to-work stationary and mobile printing options can give you a competitive advantage under any circumstances.

The only caveat is that your secondary printing solutions must integrate seamlessly with your Enterprise Resource Planning or Warehouse Management software.

Female warehouse employee tearing shipping label out of printer

6 Benefits to selecting a secondary industrial printing solution

A secondary printing source is much more than an ounce of prevention—it’s a strategy that lets you and your staff get the best out of your barcode labeling systems.

Here’s how this seemingly small precaution can create substantial benefits for an entire operation:

  1. Reduced downtime and production losses

    One of the most significant advantages of having a second printing source is the ability to mitigate downtime and production losses. When your primary printing system fails, the backup solution ensures that operations can continue.

  2. Risk mitigation

    According to the Brother survey, 49% of manufacturers do not have a second source vendor for printing and labels. Relying on a single printer supplier creates a single point of failure. A second source acts as a safety net, but not just against downtime. Between natural disasters, geopolitical uncertainty, and major shifts in consumer demand, it’s clear that supply chain disruption is here to stay. A backup solution keeps you one step ahead of chaos and ensures you can switch to an alternate printer supplier if your primary supplier cannot meet your needs.


    49% of manufacturers do not have a second source vendor for printing and labels.
  3. Flexibility and adaptability

    Manufacturing and warehouse environments can be dynamic, with changing demands and workflows. Having a second source for printers allows the IT team to adapt to evolving needs, such as scaling up production or accommodating changes in your workflow.

  4. Versatile printer capabilities

    Different manufacturing processes or warehouse tasks may require specific printer capabilities—label printers, barcode printers, serial number labels, and more. But no matter the application, accuracy, and readability are paramount. Your IT managers and workflows will benefit from a printer that is designed to be adaptable. Look for multiple emulation flexibility and diverse label support for high-volume, high-accuracy printing.

  5. Cost management

    While having a second source for printers requires an initial investment, it can lead to long-term cost savings. Reduced downtime and increased productivity can offset the investment over time. It can also allow your IT managers to negotiate better pricing and terms with your suppliers. In the Brother survey, 58% of manufactuers cited pricing as a concern in switching printing manufacturers.


    58% of manufacturers cited pricing as a concern in switching printing manufacturers.
  6. Accuracy and compliance

    Accuracy and label readability are paramount for quality control and compliance in today’s supply chain operation. Incorrect or missing labels lead to many problems, such as shipment errors, product recalls, and regulatory and compliance fines. A backup printing solution ensures your critical information won’t be lost to printer failure.

Two Warehouse Employees Using Brother Titan Industrial Printer

Look for these essential features in a secondary source

  • Compatibility and integration

    Drop-in-ready printers that integrate with your existing ERP or Warehouse Management software. The goal is to hit the ground running with a replacement that won’t create headaches for the IT team. In the same, the Brother survey revealed that 51% of manufacturers cited system integration or compatibility as a concern about switching manufacturers.

  • 51%

    51% of manufacturers cited system integration or compatibility as a concern about switching manufacturers.
  • Print volume, speed, and accuracy

    Dots per Inch (DPI) and Inches per second (IPS) speeds that match or surpass the capabilities of your primary printer.

  • Durability and Reliability

    Rugged printers are designed to withstand industrial elements and operate consistently with minimal maintenance. This applies to the labels, too.

  • Label and Media Compatibility

    Versatile media handling for all your labeling needs, materials, and types—barcode labels, RFID tags, hazardous material labels, and more.

  • Connectivity and Network Security

    Seamless, secure connectivity with your company’s network.

  • Simple design software

    This can include middleware software providers such as BarTender by Seagul Scientific, Nicelabel/Loftware, Teklynx Codesoft, or Cybraware.

  • Mobile device management

    The ability to easily monitor, manage, and deploy new printers anywhere in the operations is paramount for a Warehouse/3PL. Brother printers are certified to work with the SOTI Connect platform to provide lifecycle printer management.

  • Responsive customer service

    You need a team of experts who will support you for the life of your printer, not just during the sales pitch.


Over 50% of manufacturers cited these 3 top concerns in switching printing manufacturers: pricing, quality/reliability, and system integration/compatibility.




Start now, thank yourself later

Keeping your operation moving doesn’t have to be complicated. All it takes is a solid plan and a secondary printing solution you can count on in a crisis. Join 20% of manufacturers considering a second source printer vendor in the next 1-2 years, as we have found in our survey.

20% of manufacturers are considering a second source printer vendor in the next 1-2 years.

At Brother, we pride ourselves on over a hundred years of “at-your-side” customer support. With robust warranty programs, ample in-stock options, and a lineup of printers that can keep up with the rigors of industrial work, having your back is what we do best.

front view of Titan industrial printer


Get round-the-clock printing at riveting speeds with the Brother Titan Industrial Series. Easy drop-in integration. Durable design. Meet your new favorite workhorse.

front view of Ruggedjet 4200 printer


Print here, there and everywhere the work gets done with the RuggedJet mobile printer lineup. Mount it to a forklift, attach it to a belt— our RuggedJet printers have the durability, connectivity and battery life to keep the job rolling.

See how high-efficiency printing impacts every aspect of your operation.

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