The Rest of the Story...
Imagine a windowless room. This room is filled with the history of the company, but it is not what you might think. There is an employee tasked with managing the room but she is not the company historian. The room is filled with labels.
Seventy five percent of the labels in the room are obsolete.
Why? Because the company had to buy the “minimum run” of labels. The markings cost a lot of money to make with all of the set up and die cut charges. So even though they will probably never use the overruns, they represent an investment that they want to hold on to... just in case.
The company is an OEM of deep fryers and other fast food kitchen equipment. Any time one of their engineers made a change to the equipment, the previous markings became obsolete.
...They didn’t want that to become a deterrent to making changes for the better.
To make matters worse, the fast food chains who order the equipment require different configurations in multiple languages with their own brands and logos on the key pad overlays and menu labels so the fry cook knows what buttons to push.
Of course warning and safety labels change often, and everything had to be printed on UL recognized materials.
As you can surmise, any change or improvements in the OEM’s own technology multiplied by the customer’s requirements presented an astounding myriad of marking configurations.
This wouldn’t be an impossible problem to tackle if the OEM only had a way to get around their printer's minimum order requirements and lead times. They explained that this represents their most frustrating bottleneck.
The fact is, the problem was holding up sales response time, and even the manufacturing line. And the minimums required along with die charges greatly elevated the cost of customizing equipment. Those costs would have to be factored first and then the equipment could be re-quoted.
We could feel their pain. There was a better way.
When we demonstrated the capabilities of the Gerber system, the joy was tangible. You could feel the pain just draining away.
Their stress and delays would evaporate. The 4-8 week lead time would be gone. There would be no minimum runs. They could run one run prototype instantly if they liked. What die charges? They would now have a digital die cutter.
The sales and engineering departments were elated. Full color logos and multiple languages would be on the machines and out the door. They could now take new markings to sales meetings. All they could say was WOW!
We recommended the configuration as represented in our “Best Package.” This includes a robust laminator that gave them the most versatility when it came to laminates and transfer adhesives. They could now design and digitally store whatever labels or key pad overlays they needed.
Because they are digitally saved, they can be instantly recalled and changed on demand with serial numbers, logos, wiring diagrams, warning labels, etc. How's that for competitive advantage?
The tangible benefits was amazing because there were no more minimums or die charges. Not only were overruns eliminated but everything shipped as soon as it was manufactured.
The employee who used to manage that room full of obsolete inventory? We trained her and another employee on basic operations and material combinations, and then we returned to instruct them on "best practices" and more cost saving tips to make the most of the new Gerber system.
Although neither of them had any prior printing experience, they now take the place of a printing company. We worked with their in-house UL engineer to make sure we supplied them with the right materials, including transparent and translucent materials for back lit menu cards and membrane switch overlays.
"The Room" is now their office where everyday they handle the 600+ different markings that are used in the production line. They never told us what happened to the old labels, but they are very happy with their versatile, cost effective, and responsive in-house label printing department.