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Discount Labels Case Study

Tell me about Discount Labels. Company background, history, products/services, etc.

Lisa: “Discount labels has been in business almost 50 years. We are the country's largest custom label supplier. We only sell through distributors, so only to the trade. A bulk of that work is all labels…between various shapes and sizes and colors and stocks, the combinations are pretty much limitless.

Mike: “We produce flexographic, digital, various stocks from EDP, wide litho, Bopps, foils, films…everything under the sun.”

Lisa: “We print one-sided, we print two-sided, tag stocks, scratch-off, scratch and sniff.

Mike: “Everything you can imagine…we try to be a one-stop shop.

Tell me about your roles at Discount Labels.

Lisa: I have been with the organization for a year and I am on the sales and marketing team…a relatively new addition but my key responsibility is helping to grow sales.

Mike: I was hired 22 years ago; currently I am the General Manager. We have approximately 500 employees in about 200,000 square feet in New Albany, IN.

Lisa: We were founded in 1965 by Fred Conway who had an idea to create a label for fire, police and emergency services and that was really the birth of the company. It became national pretty quickly and then he began selling other kinds of labels. The Conways owned the business until 1994.

Mike: Mr. Conway also created the emergency sticker that everyone had on their telephones. He started printing those in his basement, then opened a little shop here in New Albany, and then built this building we are in today.

Tell me about your customers (distributors) and their labeling needs & requirements?

Lisa: We sell strictly to the trade so this could be any one from independent printers to print brokers to franchisees of larger organizations…and their label requirements cover the gamut….from product labeling to government compliance to promotional stickers to parking permits. If it has adhesive on it, chances are we print it. We have about 30,000 active distributors in U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Tell me about the need or reason why the Domino K600i was purchased.

Mike: We started out doing consecutive numbering back in the late 80's, early 90's using a Franklin hot stamp…everyone had one with a plunger, with a head that goes up and down. We built another press in house to do our numbering and the business still grew, so then we bought a Jetrion 3025 and we still couldn't keep up with the demand, so that's when we purchased the Domino K600i in March 2013. We actually have 9 presses in this plant that can do some type of variable data, with the K600i being the latest.

How and when did you find out about Domino?

Mike: We knew we needed to invest in new technology and to increase our capabilities. Our customers have really grown this business, whether it be consecutive numbering, bar codes, variable data, key codes for software…the market is really exploding with variable data. We knew that Domino was out there. The Account Manager Dan Bracken did a really good job of keeping us up to date on the latest and greatest. We saw the demo at Label Expo last year and that's when we decided we would go with the Domino unit.

What sold us on the Domino K600i was the way the head would go back into the cleaning and capping station…it purges itself so we don't have jet outs. With the old-style heads typically we would have jet outs and then be down for a shift while the head was sitting in flush. So with the K600i, we have more uptime, no downtime, no jet outs, and auto cleaning of the printheads. So that was the main reason we chose it. And knock on wood, it hasn't given us any problems.

Since the installation we have been running it 24/5, plus a shift on Saturdays without any glitches. Previously, the stitching was always an issue. The old-style heads were 2.2” and putting two of them together gave us 4.4”. If we had a job that included printing a big number, we would see the stitch mark. But with the K600i, in one encapsulated print bar, it has allowed us to not have any stitch marks so that has been highly positive. I'm running a couple hundred thousand feet of bar codes on press right now, so the automated stitching of the printheads has been key for us. If you have a big bar code, the stitching could affect what type of grade you get.

Have you seen an increase and/or difference in the types of print jobs you run due to the capabilities of the Domino K600i?

Mike: The challenge we had in the past was capacity. And when we took a large job, it would hurt our other dealers because we were not able to service them like we wanted because obviously we want to be a full-service dealer. So having the Domino K600i has allowed us to take larger jobs because now it doesn't bog down that one press. It has allowed us to do rushes for our customers, shorter turn-around time, and handle these larger jobs without impacting our other customers.

Saving time on maintenance has also been a big plus. Obviously, with the old-style heads if we had a jet out, then we would have to fill that head with flush and not use that head for the entire shift. So from a maintenance standpoint, the Domino is a lot better unit that what we had before.

What are the key benefits that the Domino K600i has provided to production (in terms of throughput, increased uptime, less make-ready time, less maintenance, etc.)?

Mike: With the press that we put the K600i on, it has given us better capabilities.

Lisa: The uptime and the quality have given us more confidence to go out and sell.

Mike: In the past it was hard to go out to get more business when we were already at capacity. Let's say we had a 5-day turn instead of a 3-day turn. It's hard to grow the business when you are already at capacity. So the K600i has freed us up to run more print jobs. And every time we have added capacity in our numbering, consecutive bar codes, variable data arsenal, we have added new equipment. My goal is to buy another K600i, a little bit wider, and put it on a bigger press.

What has been your level of satisfaction with the Domino K600i?

Mike: It has been running 24 hours a day, 5 days a week plus Saturday. We run it every day, all day and it has not failed us.

Lisa: We have been completely satisfied. Quality and customer service are two of our big hallmarks and if we didn't have the confidence in the Domino, then we wouldn't be out selling these kinds of labels and we are…and we are getting more and more orders, so it's a testament to the equipment and the service that Domino provides.

What do you foresee moving forward in terms of how Domino digital printing systems play a key role in your labeling operation?

Mike: The whole market is going more towards digital...more print on demand, more shorter runs, quicker turns, because companies don't want inventory sitting on the shelf. So digital is the way to go.