Systems Labelling Limited was formed in 1989, originally supplying label printing systems and consumables. A successful shift in strategy over the years has developed the business into a strong player in the large volume flexographic label printing industry. Employing 75 staff working 24/5, Systems Labelling is committed to innovation whilst providing environmentally smart products across a broad range of sectors, including dairy, food, chemical, household, logistics, beverage and cosmetics with a turnover of over £10m last year, predominantly from UK business. Clients include blue chip names such as Sainsbury’s, NicePak, Gerber, Unilever, Barclays, RBS, M&S, Asda, Knauf, Wincanton, Robert Wisemans, Arla and Tesco, to name but a few.
Based in Deeside, North Wales, with easy access to the M56, Systems Labelling is housed in a purpose-built facility incorporating repro, plate-making and six Mark Andy 8 colour flexographic presses, all with dedicated inspection machines and offline cutting units. Investment in the unique 100% inspection system and inhouse coating facility sets Systems Labelling apart from their competition.
Pre-press: Systems Labelling’s pre-press facilities are impressive and include an artwork studio, who manage the client sign-off process with precision and offer full colour Cromalin proofs in order to achieve near perfect colour representation. The recent investment of over £300,000 in a fully digital workflow, including the DuPont™ Cromalin® blue digital proofer, revolutionary DuPont™ Cyrel® FAST solvent-less plate-making system and Kodak Thermoflex Mid Platesetter with Hyperflex Resolution Enhancement Software, has paid dividends to pre-production.
Environmentally smart, solvent free flexographic plates are produced every 12 minutes, improving productivity, durability and image quality. The advanced screening techniques have resulted in huge benefits for the label printer. Systems Labelling’s Repro Director Robin Barker comments: “In terms of the definition and quality of images that can be consistently created, the Resolution Enhancement Technology has allowed us to achieve excellent halftones and vignettes, with the result that customers are supplying us with much more complex designs.” Barker continues: “Our aim is to push the boundaries of flexographic print.”
Print: Six 8 colour UV Flexographic printing presses run 24 hours a day, five days a week and can print on 400mm width substrates. They all have dedicated finishing/inspection units. Systems Labelling’s multi-skilled production staff are trained to interchange between equipment in order to achieve true flexibility. Two blank label presses complete the production list. The type of work varies from straightforward spot and/or four colour process with half-tones and options to add metallic, hot/cold foil, lam de-lam and holographic stamps.
Materials: The ability to coat in-house puts Systems Labelling at a great advantage in providing total quality control, Hot Melts and UV Hot Melts for specialist applications like the Peel ‘n’ Reseal market. The facility also enables the label printer to apply silicon in line onto backing liners and provides a test platform for New Product Development trials, a benefit utilised by many partners in addition to the cost savings that are directly passed on.
Systems Labelling can also print up to 8 colours on both Wrap-round and In-Mould labels offering a wide range of finishes. IML labels can be supplied in pre-cut stacks or on reels.
Service: Continuing on the self-sufficiency theme, a home-grown Management Information System provides Systems Labelling’s customers with unique “Real-Time” scheduling. Dedicated sales and customer service staff can cost, schedule and progress new orders in real-time and customers can access their own accounts via the secure extranet facility and call-off stock.
100% quality inspection – all the reassurance your business needs
Systems Labelling’s significant investment this year in ground-breaking quality inspection technology has resulted in a unique ability to deliver 100% quality control throughout the production process. Integrated with the company’s bespoke MIS, the unique system records every label printed across the 6 x 8 colour presses and inspection machines. Any imperfection is marked within the software file and defect labels are removed prior to shipping.
Systems Labelling is the only label printer in the UK using this system. Managing Director Steve Pickford takes real pride in this accomplishment: “To achieve zero print rejects as a result of embracing innovative technology is extremely pleasing; our highly skilled team have an additional tool to ensure we produce premium quality labels for our customers, week in, week out.”
The June 2008 launch of a new customer website www.systemslabelling.com has generated interest across the industry. Developed to increase awareness and inform Systems Labelling’s customers of its broad range of innovative label solutions, the comprehensive site has been designed with simple navigation. This gives visitors easy access to the company’s sector specific product portfolio, its range of materials and finishes, and its quality control and production capability, with a dedicated section on the repro function including an FTP facility for speedy artwork submission and retrieval.
A dedicated Media Centre containing news releases and case studies and a general download page has also been added, for easy reference to useful documents. Simple online forms for general enquiries, quotation and sample pack requests are in place but perhaps the new website’s crowning glory is the Extranet facility, enabling customers to log on securely and manage their own accounts. Customers can monitor order status in real-time and call-off stocks for next day delivery. It ensures total control at the touch of a button, further evidence that Systems Labelling really do see innovation as the key to achieving their plans for growth.
Visitors can view the website at www.systemslabelling.com
Environment – practice what you preach
Much has been written on the subject of “the green issue” and how the packaging industry is contributing to the war on climate change. Systems Labelling see this as just another aspect of day to day operations, and has done for many years. The working environment has seen continuous investment in state-of-the-art solvent free plate-making equipment, dust and humidity controls and best practice training programmes for staff. Over 170 tonnes of waste materials a year including pallets, ink, film, chemicals and adhesive are recycled. Business stationery is printed on recycled paper and reels are delivered in recycled boxes.
Liner recycling has become a standard within the industry and Systems Labelling have provided the service to its customers since the turn of the year. Customers cover the cost of carriage but save on the increasing cost of incineration and landfill. The waste liner is re-pulped and re-used by the tissue industry.
The Golden Rule is Mono
Systems Labelling consistently invest time and resource on R&D, and manage joint NPD projects with their customers and partners. Striving to achieve their mantra “the golden rule is mono”, Systems Labelling offer three environmentally smart options, Recyclable, Biodegradable and Home compostable materials, that can be applied to a broad range of packaging categories.
Sales Director Tony Exford comments: “We are keen to offer our customers choice. Our ethos and appetite for continuous improvement mean we are willing to spend time and resource developing products by working alongside our customers. The results show we consistently produce labels fit for purpose, and with growing pressures for the industry to produce mono packaging quite often the label is the final piece in the jigsaw.”
Working in partnership
Trials and New Product Development projects with partners and customers are part and parcel of the culture at the Deeside-based label printer. New customers are offered pre-supply visits, a pre-print preview, trials/NPD, press pass, technical support, site audits and an open house policy that offers a refreshingly transparent approach to the business.
Managing Director Steve Pickford remarks: “We strive to maintain our high standards day in, day out. Offering our customers the opportunity to visit our site whenever they wish illustrates the importance of this ethos to our business. To deliver on this, our policy is to invest in cutting edge technology and ensure our staff are trained to the highest standard.”
2008 and 2009 will see some interesting developments with continued investment in new technology including IML equipment, a new printing press and the customer extranet facility. An aggressive growth strategy indicates Systems Labelling is not looking to stand on their laurels. A dedicated business development team is investigating opportunities both home and abroad.
Why are Systems Labelling different?
Systems Labelling operates a forward thinking culture and is committed to the ethos that innovation leads to profitability. The continuous investment programme in technology, equipment, skills and R&D is testament to this. Steve Pickford adds: “Our mission is to provide world class labels through our dedication and ability to innovate, whilst understanding and meeting our customers needs day in, day out.”
The highly competitive market demands new techniques, materials and cost savings, which drives the label printer to continue its pursuit of excellence. Steve summarises what lies ahead: “We have a pedigree of developing innovative label techniques which have seen many breakthroughs across numerous sectors. It doesn’t stop here, and a pipeline of R&D projects are underway, All in all, we have plenty to keep our technicians occupied, with more initiatives waiting in the wings for implementation.”