"RFID isn't a new technology, but it is new to many distributors," she said. "Those who educate themselves in RFID are finding it very profitable, especially since many retailers such as Wal-Mart, Sears, Macy's, JCPenney, Kohl's, Dillard's, GAP and Sak's Fifth Avenue are going to item-level tagging." To accommodate the growing demand for RFID, Repacorp recently installed a third RFID press-a Mark Andy P7.
Bill Reid, vice president of sales and marketing at New Dimension Labels in Austell, Ga., noted that digital technology is gaining popularity over older methods. "Digital (e.g., HP Indigo, toner-based (Xeikon), ink jet) continues to displace traditional print technologies," he said. "As the technology develops further, the cost point of owning such equipment should come down."
Researching potential customers and asking the right questions to make sure their needs are met is something distributors often overlook, according to Kay. "I find that in our industry people don't do enough research about their customers," she observed.
Kay recalled a situation where a client wanted 1,000 small "No. 1" tie-back tags. This particular job, she explained to the customer, was better-suited for a digital press, eliminating the extra time and fees associated with setting up a tag press.
She cautioned that some customers prefer the more traditional way with ink, and that they may need an outdoor tag that would last a few years, so it comes down to once again being mindful of how exactly the customer will be using the product.
"We find that a lot. [Distributors] just don't ask the right questions," Kay continued. "It comes down to us talking to our customers to understand what exactly their customers want, where in the long run we're actually helping our customers and their customers, too."
Reid agreed that distributors don't always ask enough questions, and shared his definition of a good distributor.