Meeting or beating expectations is achieved by adhering to compliance demands in a well-defined process (Brand Vs. Regulatory). Your process should be proactive when faced with change in compliance demands that threaten to disrupt the cycle. Finding solutions quickly is key in the race to market.
Setting expectations early are key to an all-around successful product launch. This includes, not just the hard-cost (the money), but outlining what your soft cost are too, re: time-to-market, staff, marketing, legal, etc.
How you purchase or hire for print, material spec, or layout all play a factor in your project timeline and cost. Make sure that your Process Map is working for you, not against you. For example, an internal review of our Client’s workflow identified several areas that could be streamlined or removed. Once the changes were implemented their order lead-time was reduced by 19 days or 63% on every order!
Aligning with experienced vendors quickens workflow … Find suppliers who can offer value to your process. They should carefully listen and create a process map to ensure compliance to your individual needs. Process optimization starts with listening, then creating a workflow that can be actively managed by both parties to ensure quality throughout the manufacturing cycle.
Beating expectations is achieved with an organized and empowered staff that can layout and adhere to a well-defined process. Your suppliers should mirror this sentiment and become an extension and a confidant to your team. Look to partner in this capacity for best results and practices – after all, they are the experts in what they do.
Accurate price quotes come from accurate specifications. Implement a collaborative process from start to finish between your team and your suppliers. This will allow for conversation to alleviate any guesswork and ultimately help keep the project on budget and the initial expectations met.
When market conditions shift take solace in your resources. Go back to your well-trained and informed team and brainstorm for innovative solutions. Include your suppliers in the conversation; they may have experienced the change in market before and can help navigate you through the change in process.
Soft costs are real costs. Taking time to assess them, although harder to quantify, may result in overall cost savings benefits such as: reduced time-to-market, cost avoidance, lost profit avoidance, improved employee morale, enhanced image for the organization and more.
Plan copy length to take advantage of standard paper sizes. This will be a cost savings and will allow for a much faster turn-around on material compared to a custom mill order.
Getting your printer involved early in the planning stages, particularly regarding the flat and folded size and thickness of the final product, often times leads to cost savings and quicker time-to-market.
Two Ply Label
A large dental supply company sold a specific product in the United States. The product was sold in relatively small amounts and the label coved virtually the entire surface area of the jar. The company decided to sell the product in Canada as well. The problem they faced was now the label had to contain both English and French.
Mercantile Press was asked to develop a solution. We listened to the customer and designed a 2-ply label that would accommodate both English and French. The label consisted of a pressure sensitive paper base with a single paper leaf that was film laminated and die cut. The end user simply has to pull the tab and open the label exposing the French on the inside.
The result was a label that fit in the exact area of the original English only version while allowing them to be compliant in adding the French content for sale in the Canadian market.
Magnet Sleeve Labels
A large chemical company developed a system that would allow a device to blend various products into custom blended products for niche applications. The device used sensors that would detect small magnets that were molded into a high density polyethylene container. The problem with molding the magnets into the HDPE container was twofold.
First, the process was extremely expensive. This was now a specialized container that was not only more expensive to manufacture than a conventional HDPE container, it also considerably increased to delivery lead time beyond the standard container.
The second issue facing this design was that the container was no longer recyclable and therefore had to be disposed of in a conventional landfill.
Mercantile Press was called in to see if we could offer a better solution. After listening to the customer, we proposed a magnet label where a standardize template of numbered circles would be printed on the back of the label. This template would be common across all product lines. Next, Mercantile Press would apply a “glue dot” on the specific number configuration of that product. The labels are then shipped to the applicator where the liner is removed from the glue dot and a small magnet is applied to the label. Since these were niche products manufactured in relatively small quantities, the process proved to be cost effective. In addition to savings for the customer, the magnetic label can be removed and the container can be processed for recycling.
3rd Party Workflow Process Improvement
Mercantile Press not only produces labels and supplemental labeling for a major agrichemical company, they also provide typesetting and layout services for packaging that is printed by various other suppliers. In an effort to reduce the lead-time for corrugated cartons, multiwall bags and sleeve labels, Mercantile Press was asked to participate in meetings with these suppliers because of our “outstanding ability to meet delivery requests”. The goal was to mirror the process Mercantile used to significantly reduce the time an order takes to manufacture and deliver.
As a third party to the process, Mercantile Press was able to apply many of its internal processes involving
order review and entry through proofing and art approval. Although this process was a bit challenging for the participating companies, the results were significant.
The corrugated carton company was able to reduce the order lead-time by 6 days or 25%. The most significant savings was with the multiwall bag manufacturer. Mercantile Press helped them reduce their lead-time by 19 days or 63%! And these savings are not just for one order but for every subsequent order placed after these process improvements were implemented.
To counteract the chance of a costly mistake found on-press (or after), proofread from a hard-copy proof. Often times this provides a different look rather than the redundancy of electronic revision rounds. Forcing your eye to see it from a new perspective will allow for a clean read.
Sometimes terminology can be tricky. The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” can be useful. Folded samples, pictures or technical renderings are often helpful in communicating exactly what you are trying to achieve.