The old saying you get what you pay for applies to the label business as well. “Rock bottom priced” converters often have thinner margins and can’t provide exceptional customer service to those clients who need this kind of service. The big problem occurs when the companies who need exceptional service don’t understand what they are buying when they pick suppliers by price alone. Often, these companies think that they can demand a high level of service and still get the low price. This doesn’t happen. A thin margin makes it tough to hire enough staff to give customers enough attention. As a specialty label converter (who doesn’t sell by price alone), we require a lot of steps and checks to make a high-quality product. It takes a lot of people to make things work well… well trained customer reps, engineers, quality inspectors, top-notch pressman and etc to be successful. Our projects are often complex so our customers need us to spend time with them to make sure that their jobs are done right.
Another problem you often see with low priced converters is missed delivery dates. Low priced converters have longer lead times because they overbook their schedules. They have to because they need the volume to make thin margins work. They aren’t as concerned about inconveniencing the customer because a low price is so seductive. I believe that they sincerely want to make the delivery dates that are requested, but often reality (and the volume strategy) gets in the way because your job is competing with so many others. Low priced converters will give you the date requested, but often end up asking for a few extra days when the ship date nears. These types of operations turn their customer reps and salespeople into master apologizers because they are always trying to smooth over missed deadlines.
The real shame of picking the commodity label manufacturer is that when the customer finally realizes what they really got with the low price, it’s too late to go back. The price is now a rock-solid fixture in the MRP system. Nobody is going to go to their boss and say that they now have to switch to the “higher priced” guy (which is really a reasonable price with great service) because they cannot live with the lack of service from the current supplier. This means the buyer and the company are stuck and have to suffer until the pain is too great from mistakes to continue with the current supplier. A lot of money can be lost between the supplier selection time and the time the company realizes that they have picked the wrong supplier to meet the need. Only when the company accepts the fact that they made a mistake can the company be freed from the commodity trap.
JH Bertrand offers true value (and a great ROI) by providing a fair “middle of the competitive road” price with bulletproof reliability, on-time delivery using standard freight methods, solid quality, and enough personnel to give your job the attention it needs.
The most common advantage that we see for a booklet label is its ability to expand real estate for compliance copy. This is information that a governmental authority requires you to provide the end user so that your product can be legally sold. If it’s not part of your product presentation or minimized, then you put your company in jeopardy of many nasty repercussions which may include fines, recalls or being shut down. No matter how big your company is, the government has endless amounts of money to throw at the problem. You do not. The best way to be in compliance is to put all the required information on your product’s label.
Many of our top customers choose to be conservative and offer more information rather than less. This is a smart strategy and great insurance. They understand that prevention is the best way to avoid a lot of needless regulatory costs which may occur with a non-compliant label.
Do you remember when people felt that the internet was going to eliminate paperwork and copies? ….and that everything was going to be stored digitally? The fact is that more paper is being used that ever before. Why? Because copies of important documents are critical to our lives. We need copies because we don’t fully trust electronic storage. There is too much that can go wrong. Everybody has had a hard drive failure or accidentally deleted critical information. Add in all the hacking and electronic invasion
and paper just feels like a good solution.
What does this have to do with booklet labels? Offering all the important use and technical instructions in “hard copy” format on your product is a welcome valued added feature to your customers. Whether they use it or not, it is always be there for them. It can’t be deleted. Nobody is going to hack it. It’s easy to see this information as something that “should be” put on the web to save money, but consider what a convenience this information is to your customer. In a world where every competitive advantage is needed, don’t overlook how a physical hard copy of detailed instructions gives your product an edge.
Very honestly, we do hear from some customers who believe that their clients are not reading the supplied information. It bothers them because it is costing them money to provide a benefit that their end users are not using or could care less about…at least in their opinion. We have all witnessed the empty containers with unopened product instructions in the trash. It’s disturbing. It seems like a huge waste.
The truth is that your company is benefiting whether your end user reads
the information or not. Think of the advantages: (1) You are providing your
customer with a complete product package. Whether your customer reads it or not, at least they have the option of doing so. The customers who read it will appreciate the detailed instructions. Those who don’t, won’t care much, but they also won’t look at your package as incomplete. (2) Today, we all have to worry about product liability. This means we put our companies at risk when we take shortcuts. It may save a few pennies to not supply a booklet label with more detailed procedures, but what happens if safety is compromised? Those will be the most expensive pennies you ever “saved.” (3) You give your company an excellent legal argument. You can present the fact to court that you did everything you could to make your product as user friendly and safe as possible. That’s a lot better than you being accused of having a sub par presentation particularly if you are involved in a jury trial. (4) If your end user doesn’t read it today, they might tomorrow. The fact that the information is convenient and available to be read 24/7 is worth something. (5) Having the information available on the product package saves time. Smart Phone with internet connection are fast, but they aren’t as fast as reaching for a supplied onsert with the information needed. In the worst case scenario, the speed of access might save a life.
The point here is that providing the information on product has many excellent benefits for your company beyond whether your customers reads the information or not.
Hopefully your answer was “inside the booklet label affixed to the product.” Of course, if a prosecutor is asking that question it was probably located somewhere else.
Product manufacturers must keep in mind that product safety is about providing key information with easy access 24/7. It’s exciting to see how technology can offer so many more options, but it may be a major mistake if moving the information to the internet opens up the company to product liability arguments. Booklet Labels offer your company a secure way to provide information that is always there, and won’t fail for a lack of a charge. With the information on the product, you have a good argument that your company did what it could to make the product safer to use.
Imagine the worst case scenario- Your company chose to have the information accessible only by Smart Phone. Your end user is using
your product and reaches for his/her phone for more information and
the phone is dead. Who knows how that scenario ends….
The Smart Phone is in its heyday. There is virtually nothing it isn’t able to do particularly as IOT or the Internet Of Things becomes a reality that allows everything to communicate. Every day, new applications are being found. Conversely, printed booklet labels are under pressure for being a “limited” technology. But, when you look deeper, there are some INCREDIBLE advantages to booklet labels that will last for years to come. I have listed those advantages below.
- Instructions/information are affixed DIRECTLY to the product rather than being accessed from a device that may require multiple steps to get to the information.
- The end user doesn’t have to be tech savvy to use it. Those who haven’t grown up with technology may resist it.
- In our litigious society, booklet labels may be the best legal defense against product liability because the information is on the product. You can just hear the prosecution…”And where was the information located..”
- You get a HARD COPY with the product.
- You don’t need an expensive, complicated network to use them.
- They offer ways to build a deeper, layered defense against counterfeiting.
- They offer a way to open up your graphics and put the “scary” information inside the booklet label.
- They don’t use batteries.
- They don’t break.
- They won’t have a catastrophic malfunction.
- They can’t be hacked.
- They offer a simpler presentation. Complexity can create unanticipated problems and costs.
Booklet Labels are certainly still a relevant, powerful way to present information with many advantages. With that said, our view is that both technologies are necessary, and complementary not mutually exclusive. Combining technologies can make a product package far superior than what may be currently presented. Keep that in mind when you are designing your next product package. Call us for ideas.
JHB’s Bertrand Clinical Label division sponsored the Clarence High School JV Cheerleaders for their 2017-2018 season. “I am a little biased about our Clarence Cheerleaders because my daughter Ashley is on the team. They do an absolute fantastic job”, remarked Jeff Bertrand. Just last Sunday, Clarence came in first at the Winter ECIC competition. Way to go Ash!
Jeff and Ashley Bertrand are pictured on the right.
Peel tabs are widely used on booklet labels for curved surfaces. The idea is that they offer an easy way to get a finger under the tab to open the booklet. We sell against the peel tab as much as possible because we believe this advantage is marginal versus how much cost and time a peel tab takes.
Here are some of the disadvantages of peel tabs: (1) Peel tabs create an extra step in the process. After the booklet press sheets are printed, they must be sent to die cutting equipment to create the tabs which takes more time and costs more money. (2) Peel tabs cover between 15% to 25% of the peel up wing. Less exposed adhesive equals less stick to the liner. The opening wing of this type of booklet label (Lam to Liner) sticks directly to the carrying liner so it is weaker bond to begin with. If you need to serialize your label with a post print process that has a long web path with lots of turns, this makes it more likely that the label will delaminate and get caught in the rollers. The same is true when using label applicating equipment.
Don’t get me wrong, peel tabs are widely used, but at BCL, we are constantly looking for ways to reduce lead times and cost while maintaining a high level product. We believe eliminating the peel tab makes a lot of sense. One caveat– if you are not convinced, and you need a peel tab, we can do it for you, of course.
Bertrand Clinical Label, a division of JH Bertrand, will be displaying at the Global Clinical Supplies Group conference in
Altanta, GA April 29th to May 2nd. “We’ve attended this conference for years so it’s very exciting to now be displaying”, remarked Jeff Bertrand. “I always learn something interesting every year. Now my team and I will have a chance to have additional conversations with the clinical supplies professional’s who attend.”
Bertrand Clinical Label produces single ply, 2 part, booklet labels, and a variety of clinical labeling supplies for the drug discovery marketplace. Many of these products often carry blinded variable codes.
I wanted to thank our customers, employees and suppliers for another great year at JH Bertrand. Thank you very much! We couldn’t have done it without you!! We wish you and your family a safe and happy 2017.
Pictured above are my 3 kids (L-R) Jack (18) , Ashley (14) and Julia (14) who are growing up way too fast. I am sure if you have kids, you feel the same way about your kids. It seems like just yesterday my kids were in diapers sitting in high chairs eating cut up bits of fruit and veggies. Where did the time go??? Now it’s more like “Dad, can you spare some extra cash…” LOL! I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
Thanks again for a great 2016. Look forward to working with you in 2017.
Best Holiday Wishes,