2018 Top 50 Suppliers: Discount Labels and the Customer Support Mindset
Each year, Print+Promo compiles the Top 50 suppliers into one comprehensive list. High sales numbers aren’t achieved by luck. Rather, these firms excel at hearing and responding to the voices of their customers—especially when those voices express differing needs. We asked a few of our top suppliers to talk about their recent accomplishments, leadership style and what they’re doing to stay relevant. Here is what Discount Labels, No. 9 on the 2018 Top 50 Suppliers list, had to say.
What was your company’s biggest accomplishment over the last year?
John Becker: [We initiated a] $2 million capital investment of new presses and finishers and the establishment of a 10-person regional sales team, and exceeded two billion printed labels through 300,000 individual orders.
How is your company positioning itself to continue to stand out in 2019?
JB: [We intend to offer] new specialty label offerings, faster turnaround and additional customer support resources.
What must one have, aside from impressive sales numbers, to become a top supplier?
JB: [A] customer support mindset across all functions [is a necessity]. From order processing to customer service, press operations to sales support, the organization must have a sales mindset when it comes to creating the best customer experience.
What is the biggest challenge that people in this industry are facing, and how does your company tackle that matter?
JB: Material price increases are a struggle. We can only absorb so much before we have to pass on the costs to our customers. Customers are used to buying technology, which tends to get cheaper over time, but raw materials are a different story. Our best option is to over-communicate the situation and be transparent.
What is the most enjoyable part about holding your position within the company?
JB: The support I am getting from the entire organization is inspiring. Everyone has adopted the mantra of ‘better the customer experience.’ Employees who have been here for 30 years and those for 30 weeks have all adopted an incredible attitude about being our customers’ best partner.
As a business leader, what do you consider your most admirable trait, and how do your interactions with your employees help you to improve that quality?
JB: I do not micromanage. I believe employees want to be independent, but not ignored. I try to give direction, advice and mentoring, while allowing an individual to grow into a position with their own unique talents and ways of operating. This also requires an open-door policy when they need guidance.
Whom do you admire as a business leader, and why?
JB: I find Warren Buffett to be an incredible business leader. His successes have not gone to his head. He is attuned to his employees and his businesses. He makes incredible management decisions, and he seems to be having fun doing it all.
What else might you like to add to give our readers a better sense of your business approach and the industry at large?
JB: Business is not incredibly complicated, so don’t make it so. Sales 101 still works. Call your customer, support your customer, be a trusted partner. [It] doesn’t matter whether you are a seasoned veteran or a millennial, or if your customer is a seasoned veteran or millennial, being a trusted partner and caring about the relationship with your customer are key to any successful business.
View the full 2018 Top 50 Suppliers list here, or click here for stats, trends and analysis from the list. For more in this top suppliers profiles series, click here to download a free PDF resource containing all four interviews.