Before I look at the seven ways to choose your preferred label printing company, it must be pointed out that business in all sectors will be quite different in the next 12 months. The national job ads report for April 2020 showed that the number of advertisements for new roles halved in the space of a month. That is a precursor to higher unemployment and inevitably business closures in the future. It means that you will need to change some of your suppliers. What do you look for in a supplier and in particular a label printing company? Is it the usual factors of quality, service and price or is it more? Here is a list of seven factors that affect your decision.
1. Knowledge. There is an old saying that you want to buy from the experts. That is particularly true for the medical sector and other service related businesses. Well, label printing is one of the more technical aspects of printing. There is different machinery for printing and finishing. Then there are all the different stocks for labels and the coatings. Then labels can be hand applied or machine applied. For example, your supplier must be familiar with the eight roll directions for product labels. You need a label printing company that has the time and expertise to offer the very best advice.
2. Quality. Despite significant advances in label printing technology over the last 15 years, there is still significant variation in quality amongst different label printing companies. Most companies have different machines. One skill is to match colours to your product colours and to the colours printed previously. That requires co-operation amongst the customer, the graphic designer, the machine operator and the capability of the equipment.
3. Price. It is no use having a great quality label if it is too expensive and it makes your product unprofitable due to high input costs. The cost of your label should be a small fraction of the selling price. However, you cannot ignore the reality that the unit price quickly reduces when the quantity increases. Also, when first starting out, avoid ordering too many different sizes and different varieties and flavours. That will increase your cost regardless of which label printing company you employ.
4. Time. It is important to get your labels when you need them. No doubt your label printing company will encourage you to place your order early but in reality, not everyone is going to be that organised. I know many label printing companies that print labels when it suits them. Our company prints labels according to our customer’s requirements and that is the best way to organise a printing timetable.
5. Exceptional Service. Every business claims to give great service but in practice, only a small percentage of companies practise it. Exceptional service is one way of impressing your customers so they will buy again and tell others about their experience. One thing I do from time to time is stay back at the office so customers can collect their labels. At other times, I will personally deliver labels after hours. It is all about just doing whatever it takes to look after your customers.
6. Guarantee. You really get to know the value and ethics of a label printing company when something goes wrong. Mistakes can be minimised but they can’t be avoided. Many companies will search for the fine print in their terms and conditions. That is OK but if you want to keep a customer for life, then sometimes you will reprint labels as a goodwill gesture. When you do this, often the long term benefits will outweigh the short term costs.
7. Printed In Australia. It is too early to see what the after effects of COVID-19 will be in terms of business practice. I suspect that Australian owned companies will benefit and the “Made in Australia” phrase will have more impact than ever before. Never think that printing labels in Australia is unimportant. The advantages of label printing in Australia are numerous. The main advantages are speed and reliability. If you have to rely on exporting agents and transportation, then a lot more can go wrong in terms of communication, delays or damage in transit.