The Top Five Continue to Thrive
Still, the label business is up 25 percent, fueled in part by unique equipment capabilities. "We can manufacture virtually any type of pressure-sensitive label in both long and short runs," said Lemberger. "And, as a beta test site for the Mark Andy DT, we currently have the only UV, digital, ink-jet and laser die-cutting label press in the world. It has the ability to produce extraordinary, high-quality, short-run, custom, pressure-sensitive labels. We can take a digital file, load it directly into the press and start producing products right away—no plates or die manufacturing are required."
In addition to equipment, Western States Envelope & Label also invests heavily in its people, dedicating significant amounts of time and energy to training the customer service and sales staff. "Having a good understanding of the manufacturing process puts them in a unique position to provide additional value at the point where jobs are being estimated and designed," said Lemberger. "We are also two years into a lean manufacturing initiative. It's an all-encompassing mind-set to improve our processes, including customer service, and to compress the sales-to-order process to reduce the time it takes to receive an order and turn it into a job that is being produced on the shop floor."
Value-stream mapping is one way that helps the company break down each step to see which ones add value and allows it to eliminate the ones that do not. Despite advances, customers are always looking for more. "It's our greatest challenge," said Lemberger. "Our mission is to do more while we lower our costs. With recent increases in health-care, fuel and insurance costs, this is a difficult task. But, this is how we take care of our customers and continue to grow as a company."
By Maggie DeWitt