What is your label converter really costing you?
Hint: It’s much more than the cost of the labels. Your customer relationships and credibility as a supplier are also at stake. That’s why selecting the converter who offers you the lowest-cost labels is rarely the right solution.
Why? Think through the chain of events that happens from the label converter all the way to the end customer of the product to which it is attached. If a delay happens anywhere during this process, its impact is multiplied throughout the supply chain. In other words, if your converter is late in producing and delivering an order, it can have a major negative effect on your customer’s packaging operations. Causing your customer to idle a production line is very expensive, and must be avoided at all costs.
When we promise a date, our customer schedules production based on it. Since many production lines take a lot of time and labor to switch over, it costs them money if they don’t have what they need when their line is ready. In addition, they’ve promised their customers a ship date based on the date we gave them. Therefore, once the first date is missed, it has a domino effect all the way up the supply chain. This causes a lot of issues, which in turn, can put customer relations in jeopardy.
What can cause label delays?
- Poor planning: Keeping orders running on schedule requires diligence from competent workers and managers. This is much easier if your company’s culture emphasizes meeting or exceeding customer expectations and label quality above all else.
- Inadequate cash flow: This can be a problem for smaller converters, who may have problems getting materials and tooling on time.
- Lack of manpower: Some converters are short staffed, which means they don’t have enough manpower to do throughput checks.
What if, despite our best efforts, an order falls behind schedule?
In rare cases like this, proactive communication is critical. The sooner we can notify our customers of any scheduling or material problems, the more time they will have to adjust their schedules. When in doubt, we communicate and double-check with them to verify their production schedules.
Customers hate surprises, especially when their production lines are involved.
More than label pricing
Everybody loves a low price. But when it comes to label printing, selecting the low-cost supplier can be exceptionally risky. If you’re able to purchase a label cheaply, but it doesn’t show up on time and you lose a customer, what did you REALLY pay for those labels?
The takeaway is simple: Perform your due diligence. Make sure your vendor selection criteria includes more than just price. Ask a lot of questions related to the issues we’ve just discussed. You can’t afford to lose your credibility or key customer relationships over production scheduling problems.