The speediest lead times in labels - Readability Ltd

The speediest lead times in labels

Published by Chris Edney on 10th September 2019 | General

It’s a familiar story: you need labels printed, and you need them yesterday.

This is the nature of the business. A printer lets you down, a new rush order comes in, you realise you’ve made a mistake with your labels – anything can happen.

At Readability, we offer some of the fastest lead times in the business. Our customers need labels for a huge range of products, from e-liquid vape bottles to glues, and they come to us to get the job done properly without any time wasting.

Now, that’s something you may hear a lot. And that’s because a lot of printers say they have fast lead times. But here’s the thing: when they say fast, they often mean weeks. At Readability, fast means days.

So how do we actually achieve these incredibly short lead times? Let’s take a look.

The order is placed

It all starts when a customer calls the Readability sales office.

Let’s say it’s a new customer who desperately needs 200,000 fully printed peel-and-reseal labels across 158 SKUs with an integrated tactile warning triangle.

It sounds complex (and it is!) It involves full-colour digitally printing the labels with flexo printed inside pages, laminating them together, screen printing them with the tactile triangle and die cutting and finishing them on reels.

Now let’s say the customer wants it back in four days. Many other printers would simply say no. But it’s perfectly achievable for our team.

The order is confirmed, and we get to work.

Approving the artwork

The first thing we ask for is the artwork. This will normally be sent via Dropbox, and as soon as we have it, we dispatch it to the studio right away. The studio approves it as ‘print ready’, and we then send it back to the customer for approval.

How long does this take?

We have spent years investing in people, relationships and automation processes (we have a choice of two printing sites, five HP Indigo digital presses and three flexo presses and ABG Digicon finishing lines). As such, we can turn this around extremely promptly.

Customer approval

Let’s say that no amends are needed (which is what we’re all hoping for!) Your account manager will send over the proofs for you to approve them for print.

We run tight margins on fast orders, and because most customers will be desperate to get the work finished, they’ll give approval in a matter of hours.

Once this is done, everything is in our control. We have processes in place that mean we can guarantee to deliver the order fast, and on time.

Let the print process begin!

Once everything has been approved by the customer, we start immediately.

The studio gets going and the artwork is dropped into the automated production schedule so they are ready to print.

We can literally ‘drop’ the print jobs into our production plan according to your delivery needs. Once they are in the plan they will be ready by the time specified.

The print file is sent to press, and the print process begins.

Printing starts

At various stages the production manager checks the print against the artwork file (we have strict quality control at all stages to ensure any mistakes are caught quickly).

Just a few hours later the top layer is printed and wound onto a bulk reel.

The flexo press then swings into action to complete the inside pages. For an order of this size these can expect to be finished by the end of Day 2.

The two webs are then laminated together using the correct adhesives and tags which forms the peel and reseal label.

QC checks and approves, and we’re ready for the next stage, which is screen printing the tactile warning triangle.

These need to be printed onto every label to ISO 11683 standards. We do that quickly, and QC checks and approves again.

The final stage

We now need to get the reels in the perfect format to be used by the customer.

This involves slitting and rewinding the labels, a skilled job carried out by a professional.

The finished reels will then be ready for the customer so they can take them out of the box and put them into their automatic applicator where they will be applied quickly and smoothly to the items.

The labels are delivered

We’re now on Day 4 and our customer is waiting for the labels to arrive. When timescales are this tight we use a same-day courier. We simply box up the finished reels, prepare the paperwork, the courier loads up the van and he’s off.

The labels arrive later that day, and we complete the order – to the immense satisfaction of our customer.

Example lead times

This is the process we follow that allows us to meet and exceed requirements even for very complex orders. In fact, in 2018, we delivered 70 million peel-and-reseal labels on time!

We have guaranteed lead times in place for each stage and this gives our customers peace of mind. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Multiple artworks returned for proofing – up to 48 hours
  • Single ply multi-SKU orders – 48 hour delivery from proof approval
  • Peel-and-reseal labels with or without a tactile warning triangle – 4 to 5 day delivery from proof approval

And remember, we have strict quality control at every stage of the process. No matter how fast we go we ensure everything is checked and passes the high quality standards we insist upon.

Plus all communication, (with the customer, studio, production, QC, finishing and dispatch), is handled by a dedicated, expert account manager to keep on top of everything.

The final result…

For the team at Readability, we are all about building strong relationships with our customers. When customers first use us they are delighted in the Readability difference, and the response “We don’t know how we could have done this without you” is one we hear often.

We have excellent digital capability; we use the latest automation software; and we go out of our way to meet the tightest deadlines.

And in case you were wondering, our customer service is excellent too!

That’s why our customers come back for repeat order print jobs time and time again. No  matter how tight the deadlines, we’re only too happy to help!

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