Taking Correct Action When There Is a Problem

Every company experiences delays, mistakes, and problems related to customer orders, production,  suppliers, shipping delays, and other customer-related matters.  No company is perfect, but wise companies have built-in accountability and operating systems that help rectify problems and prevent them from reoccurrence.  These systems ensure accountability, consistency and help manufacturers keep a record of them in an organized manner that is designed for efficiency and results.

While many smaller manufacturing companies may “wing it,” when it comes to problems that require corrective action for the customer, others maintain certification in an internationally recognized system of standards.   ISO is a quality control system that meets global standards and helps customers, suppliers, and vendors.  The qualification process is intentional and sets those willing to maintain certification apart for their willingness to improve, meet compliance and allow their customers to hold them accountable.  

When a mistake or defect is detected it is documented and logged into the system.  This will generate a formal document about what happened and prescribe corrective action.  Let’s say it is a problem with a flexible film that is showing up in every 200 runs of trail bar wrappers.  Through the system, the manufacturer can track down the film supplier, lots, inks, artwork and through a process of elimination identify the source of the problem whether it is an in-house issue like a worn machine in need of a subtle repair,  or due to the quality of a specific supplier’s product.  ISO allows companies to identify the source of a problem or issue, correct it and resume production to provide full customer satisfaction.

Century Printing and Packaging consistently reviews these reports through regular sales and management meetings in order to stay on top of quality issues, raise the bar on customer satisfaction and ISO compliance.  The system provides peace of mind for indentifying, reporting and handling the inevitable problems that come through the manufacturing, printing and packaging processes.  When your company is dealing with a supplier that has a quality control system you can rest assured it is a company that is honest and up front about them, but seeking to constantly improve their service and product quality.

By setting standards for quality and customer assurance we recognize there is a way to learn and grow from mistakes.  Our system allows us to own mistakes quickly and find solutions while preventing future mistakes.  At Century Printing and Packaging we are serious about quality and service.  Striving for excellence is important to us and having systems in place to provide us with valuable information while achieving customer satisfaction is paramount.  

Ben Waldrop
President
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509

The Difference in Prime and Non-Retail Labels

Labels have a variety of functions for applications across diverse product platforms.  Most people think of labels on a product you would buy off the shelf of your local grocery, Target, or other retail chains.   In the printing and packaging industry, these are called prime labels.   Prime labels adorn products that consumers can see, hold, examine and read.  

Prime labels help sell products.  These labels depend on form as well as function at the point of sale.  Consumers are attracted to products with labels that are attractive, colorful, and have a great “look and feel”.   So, it’s incredibly important these labels are consistent in appeal and appearance.  They need to be consistent in terms of the material, laminate, fonts, colors, etc.  Many prime labels have a laminate or varnish finish to give the label a nice gloss that’s clean and aesthetically pleasing to the eye on the retail shelf.

Non-retail labels are based more on their function to provide important information.  They don’t have to be appealing because most of them are located on products in locations where they are not seen by consumers. Things like chemical labels, government-required safety or information labels on industrial equipment, vehicles, lawn equipment, and the like.  For example, the label on a wiring harness or fuse box diagram contains vital information about that equipment or particular part.  It doesn’t have to look flashy and its finish has to be durable and able to perform in hot, cold, humid, water, and even dirty environments.  DOT requires non-retail labels for tire pressure information on the inside door jam of the driver’s door for vehicles manufactured for the United States.  These labels have to consistently stick and perform in a variety of weather, chemical, and wear and tear environments.  They provide vital information for the end-user, owner/operator, but don’t have to focus on aesthetics like their prime label counterparts.  

There are by far more prime labels produced than non-retail because of the countless “one-off” products like a container of tomatoes.  The tomatoes are used fairly quickly and the container can go to recycling, but the label is no longer needed.  Think of how many vitamin and over-the-counter pill bottles a typical family goes through in a year, versus the car or lawnmower they own for several years with non-retail labels that never change.  It’s simple math because of the overwhelming number of retail products produced worldwide.

A great example of a non-retail label that is required and regulated by law is gas pump labels required by a state’s respective Department of Agriculture or Weights and Measures in terms of weights, measures, calibration, and certification.  These have to stay on until the next annual inspection when a new label is applied to the pump.  These labels are exposed to harsh weather, diesel, gasoline, benzene, kerosene, dirt, grease, and grime.  Their performance is far more important than their appearance.  These labels have laminate outside because they offer greater barrier protection to fumes and fuel spills than a varnish finish you will find on a prime label on a retail shelf.

In terms of label finishes laminate provides you the ultimate protection for outside and print.  Varnish is less expensive and you can use a plate to coat it in areas of the label you don’t want varnished.  

Regarding prime labels consistency, high-end graphics, a glossy, attractive finish that doesn’t get lost or look bad are critical.  Consider the craft beer industry.  Your regular retailer has various craft beers inside a “beer cave” (walk-in cooler)  and you can view a variety of beers.  If the label is sliding off a bottle or can and the competition has appealing labels that stick this is going to be a barrier to purchase for the brewery.  You don’t want to detract from the eye test on the shelf.  

In Non-retail labels performance is more important because of the material adhesive, barrier protection, legal requirements for certain information that meets regulatory requirements.  For example, a chemical label not made for retail sales, but on the exterior identifies the product proper applications,  mixtures, concentrate, hazardous use policy, and any other warnings provides important and regulated information to the buyer and end-user.  In the world of chemical labels, there are some products that require both a high-performing and standout label.  

Depending on the units you are purchasing it is critical that your label and packaging vendor can produce consistent labels.  A major portion of the cost is in the setup for printing the labels.  Every time you have to set up a different run it increases your costs versus having the labels printed in a single job.  Wise manufacturers know the demand for their product, sales numbers, logistics and plan ahead so they have enough labels, but aren’t caught holding the bag with labels that never get used because demand is lower than expected.  That said, you need to make sure the print quality, look and feel is consistent whether they are in the same run, or multiple printing runs.

One of the industry trends to watch closely in the label and packaging industry is the online sales factor.  As more and more products are sold through Amazon and other online retailers, the prime label is not as important as it is on a retail shelf in a physical location.  The reason is that in an online purchase label quality looks relatively the same and your product is rarely distinguished from similar ones side by side digitally.  What you click on doesn’t matter as long as you get the product.  This will be an interesting trend to watch for manufacturers and the label and packaging industry.  

At Century Printing & Packaging we understand the importance of shelf appeal optics when it comes to the “look and feel” of a product at the point of sale.  Our flexible packaging printing and labels not only stand out but stand up to the environmental performance conditions required of them.  We have extensive experience in printing both prime and non-retail labels.  Our goal is to produce high-performing labels and flexible packaging that stick, attract, and perform.   We are experienced in beer, craft beer, CBD, nutraceuticals, food-grade film, flexible packaging,  and much more.  Contact us today to discuss your unique needs.

Requirements for Food & Nutritional Labels Vary

Legal requirements for labels vary from product to product and within product categories. Food-related, nutraceutical, supplements, and vitamin labels have to meet a diverse set of regulations across federal, state, and even international governing and regulatory agencies.

These regulations are constantly changing and move very fast within their respective product categories and industries. Manufacturers need the input of industry label experts in regard to label requirements. Label and font sizes, print size, placement of various ingredient statements, values, any governmental statements, seals, barcodes, and more can be required for each specific product. Most label printing and packaging companies do not provide this kind of expertise on staff. While their expertise is to produce the highest quality of labels that stick and perform meeting governmental label or ingredient regulations is the responsibility of the manufacturer.

Many companies have fallen prey to less than ethical label printing vendors who do not have the expertise in label requirements. It is not uncommon to fail a label inspection because the manufacturer did not do their due diligence in having an industry standards expert sign off on the final proof. Suddenly their printing costs have doubled which could have been avoided.

The bottom line for manufacturers is to make sure you have expert consultation and legal approval for label size, content, requirements, etc., so you can entrust your printing and packaging to experts in label production and printing. Companies can also be subject to fines for failure to comply with the label specifications for a particular product. Some retailers impose huge penalties and fines, or the loss of business altogether for companies that fail to comply with label legal requirements.

In South Carolina your product could be governed by SCDHEC, the Department of Agriculture, the FDA, FTC, or other regulatory agencies both state and federal. Label sizing is impacted by a lot of these regulations. This is why manufacturers need to consult experts and their label printing companies in concert to ensure compliance and to manage overall costs.

Beer and distilled spirit labels must be approved by the Federal Tax and Trade Bureau before they are printed. Alcohol labels have some of the most strict federal and state requirements. You don’t want to get caught with a great product and attractive label that fails to measure up to the legal requirements.

At Century Printing & Packaging we have been printing labels that stick, but have great eye appeal and consistently tell your brand story. We are experienced at working in concert with our customers and their label experts on these specialized labels. Printing labels and packaging is our expertise, and will be glad to work with your designated expert to ensure the label and packaging meet the regulatory standards.

Ben Waldrop, President
Century Printing and Packaging, Inc.
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509

Carryover’s for 2021: Good and Bad

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. It just doesn’t work in business, family relationships, athletic teams, and much of life. What if you could change the narrative? What do you want to carry over into the new year that is good and what are you willing to change?

As your leadership team reflects on 2020 (and yes it was an exceptionally bad year on many fronts) there are going to be best practices, protocols, organizational culture, clients, products, and systems that are good, profitable, and work well for you. That is indeed something you want to carry over. However, what is the thing (even sacred cows) you need to change or let go in 2021? Where do you need to change the narrative? Sales, customer service, quality control, marketing, bad actors on the team, culture shifts, products, R&D, drab offices?

Don’t worry about being ready to roll them out on 1/2/2021, instead be prepared to initiate meaningful change in January and the months ahead. This way you don’t rush it at the holidays. Every company should take some type of inner review as they make plans for the new year. Our company takes stock of what we have done over the years that have worked and even those things that haven’t as we plan where to focus our resources, time, attention, and funds for the new year.

Your process should include input from multiple sources to get an idea of hidden talents, ideas, and input from mid-level managers who have critical relationships with their people so everyone in the building feels they’ve been heard.

This doesn’t mean you drop something new because of the “but we’ve always done it this way,” crowd. Nor, does it mean that every suggestion is ideal for your company at a particular time or place. Timing is incredibly important because the last thing you want to do is invest your energy and resources into something that may be a great idea, but it’s just not the right time. Small businesses have to run differently because they can’t just draw on the bond market or capital investments during challenging times.

Leaders have to make tough calls and decisions that aren’t always the most popular but are in the best long-term interests of the company. Small incremental changes and improvements are a great way to change the narrative in a negative environment. Every aspect of your business is critical. Production needs sales, sales need a product to sell. Quality control must be present so production is accountable to put out a high quality and high performing product. Marketing pushes brand awareness and product quality for new customers.

Changing the narrative is not easy. It requires discipline, dedication, and a willingness for leadership to stay in the line of fire because they know the ultimate outcome is a good one. And team members need to support each other and leadership in new challenges, endeavors, and meaningful changes intended to boost sales, production, client satisfaction, and services.

Wise are the companies that are grappling with these issues heading into 2021. Their willingness and courage to institute strong change or new ideas will realize dividends regardless of the economy and pandemics statistics.

Change the narrative and carry over best practices in 2021 and you will be well served, so will your clients and customers!

At Century Printing and Packaging we are committed to the best practices and innovation within the printing and packaging industry. Change and technology are drivers for us. Listening to clients and our people enables us to be competitive, creative, and on time for customers. We specialize in label printing with the highest quality and standards. It’s why so many of our clients are return customers. We work with our customers seeking solutions that stick! Contact us today to ensure your product labels are done right and shipped on time!

Ben Waldrop, President
Century Printing and Packaging, Inc.
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509

Ready to Deliver Your Last Minute Packaging & Printing Needs

The drive to be noticed has never been greater for brand owners in a retail display or point of sale environment. It’s Christmas in the retail world and everyone is concerned about their display in their retailer distribution points. How does your product stand out against the competition?

If you are hesitant with your answer then you’ve already been beaten in the printing and packaging world. We understand the need to get the message across asap so holiday shoppers will gravitate towards your product whether it’s online or on a shelf.

We’ve been printing and packaging for holiday shipping and point of sale for 23 years. We understand the urgency and need to get product fulfillment delivered. If your packaging requires special attention we have the experience and expertise to meet those needs and deliver your product on time.

Packaging for the holidays is critical and those of us in the printing and packaging industry not only understand the deadlines and urgency but the demand for quality and shelf appeal as well. Having a great product is the first step, but if it’s not accompanied by appealing packaging and printing at the point of sale it will only get lost in the competition.

Quick turnaround in the printing and packaging industry can appear to run at a sloth-like pace because there are so many steps involved before the product gets to the point of sale. We understand the “look and feel” of printing and packaging. We know that artwork and graphic design are as important as what is inside the packaging.

At Century Printing and Packaging we understand and respond to last-minute or late holiday printing and packaging needs and requests. We are poised to deliver under the most extreme deadlines and terms. Whether it’s digital printing, digital press, or flexo we have the team ready to help you get your holiday orders done in a high-quality fashion.

We are a seasoned company in producing flex film, metalized, roll stock, and sealed packaging for our clients. Even if your normal vendor is unavailable due to high demand or Covid-19 we are here to help. Give us a call and let’ discuss your artwork, and order demands today. Whether it’s CBD labels, Craft Beer Labels, flexo packaging needs, or whatever you need we are available. Contact us today.

At Century Printing & Packaging our flexible packaging printing and labels not only stand out but stand up to the environmental performance conditions required of them. Our goal is to produce high performing labels and flexible packaging that stick, attract, and perform. We are experienced in beer, craft beer, CBD, nutraceuticals, food-grade film, flexible packaging, and much more. Contact us today to discuss your unique needs.

Ben Waldrop, President
Century Printing and Packaging, Inc.
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509