I Think I Can
You can run, but you can’t hide. There’s no escaping [cue dramatic music]: The Recession. Had enough of the media’s fear-inducing headlines? Like it or not, this is reality—and not just for the printing industry. But that doesn’t mean suppliers and distributors have to close their eyes and wait for miracles to fall in their laps. Instead, major label manufacturers are licking their economic wounds with diversification, new product offerings and a new optimism that’s speckled with realism. But manufacturers admitted they had to take a hard look at where their business has been and where it is heading before they could embrace the future and its possibilities.
Bob Hakman, president of the Itasca, Illinois-based Diversified Labeling Solutions, observed that last November was the first month he was directly impacted by the struggling economy. His company has remained at a reduced order volume level for the past three months. And for the first time in the company’s history, it was forced in January to make staff cuts.
Nevertheless, Hakman knew financial troubles were brewing for a while.
Well before recent months, he noticed the overall market was changing, as a result of companies outsourcing overseas. “The North American label market got hurt over the past five-plus years with the transition of manufacturing over to China and other overseas markets. I have been reading that this exodus has started to reverse itself when oil hit its highs last summer and long-term, I see some additional manufacturing coming back to North America. Additional consolidations and reductions in capacity are needed to stabilize the market for labels, and I believe this current downturn will result in that happening,” he surmised.
The Custom Resale Group also found 2008 challenging. The group includes the companies Printegra and PrintXcel, both of Peachtree City, Ga.; VersaSeal, Montrose, Ala.; National Imprint Corporation, Claysburg, Pa.; Wisco Envelope, Tullahoma, Tenn.; Discount Labels, New Albany, Ind.; Lancer Label and Dealer Label, both of Omaha, Neb.; and Synergy Label, Smyrna, Ga.