Labels Prevail in a Modern Market
Distributors stick with labels to lick market woes.
The birth of modern labeling technology can be traced back to the 1700s, when labels began appearing on Guinness bottled ale and stout in Ireland, and on wine and liqueur produced in France. Eventually, canned food processing caused label usage to soar.
In the 1920s, 3M developed masking and cellophane tape, which resulted in various pressure-sensitive applications, and universal product codes introduced in the late '70s spawned a multitude of bar-coded label solutions.
Clearly, labels are one traditional product group that is thriving in our information-crazed, technology-obsessed society. Here, four executives discuss the impact of these products on their distributorships.
Latching on to Labels
Already providing forms to several mid-size manufacturers, Tabco Business Forms, Terre Haute, Ind., began focusing on their bar-coded label needs to replace declining markets. "Diversification is the key for success in shifting markets," said Vice President Khris Bilyeu. "Orders range anywhere from 500 address labels to millions of shipping labels, reflecting a diverse customer base with very different needs."
C. Michael Stewart, president of Jeffersonville, Indiana-based VoluForms, reported a similar scenario. Many of his forms customers are manufacturers of office products, furniture, air filters and heaters, who use labels for warehousing and distribution applications. VoluForms gradually captured this business, which mostly includes orders for rolls of self-adhesive, bar-coded, machine-applied labels.
"One trend we're seeing is increasing orders for rolls of blank labels in varying sizes, since customers print bar codes and other non-static information on them as they go through the assembly lines," said Stewart. He pointed out that this market is in a state of flux as end-users grapple with printer costs.
In addition to manufacturing, Stewart discovered several bar-coded label customers in the financial and health-care industries and is seeing a growing market for laser labels.