Room to Grow
Combinations and new wrinkles aid the rise of pressure-sensitive labels
By Erik Cagle
Pressure-sensitive labels can be all things to all distributors. These labels are an alternative to the traditional forms market, they can combine with forms in many creative ways, are among the leading products in terms of growth and the application possibilities are limitless.
Naturally, stated Fred Elhami, president of Costal Tag and Label, Santa Fe Springs, Calif., many businesses want to get in on the action.
"There are too many suppliers," Elhami said. "Really, it's everybody and anybody who has a printing press."
Elhami stressed the need for a niche. Manufacturers and distributors alike can survive an ocean full of pressure-sensitive label sharks by using a bait other than custom runs and rock-bottom prices.
"Our niche is bar coding--not everyone can put up an ion deposition unit because it costs $150,000 to $200,000," Elhami said. "We have 12 of them, so that gives us a little edge. You have to write programs for it, you have to have programmers on hand and people to maintain the machine.
"You've got to create a niche in order to be able to cut out a piece of the market for yourself," he added.
Try to be innovative, Elhami advised, find applications that solve problems for the customer. Simply selling one-color, slap-on labels is not going to produce stellar results.
"If you create a label that has special dies and special cuts, the die is expensive enough that the customer is not going to prostitute you on price," Elhami said. "The die could cost a couple thousand dollars--it's an intricate die.
"In any industry if you don't come up with a better mousetrap, you might as well go home. You've got to be thinking all the time and that's the way a salesman should be."