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.