Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Monday, February 27, 2012

Color Kanban Cards Keeps Company's Inventory Correct

Almatis ( is committed to provide globally, high quality specialty alumina products and leading edge services. Almatis is the world's leading global producer of alumina-based materials for refractory, ceramics and polishing applications.

Almatis has nine wholly-owned and strategically-located production facilities in Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, India, China and the United States. A broad network of sales offices around the world places Almatis in the position to understand the local market dynamics and to be close at hand for all its customers.

In their operations, Almatis uses color Kanban tags to trigger their required production.  With their make-to-stock production, color tags on their Kanban production board identifies visually the products to produce.  In addition, Almatis uses color Kanban tags to trigger which products to produce to place in inventory.  Every day, Almatis produces approximately 650 color Kanban tags in 15 to 20 colors to represent their required production in each of their plants globally.

Color Kanban card produced by TT printer
To produce these Kanban cards, Almatis has been using 3 TEC color thermal transfer printers in each of their 9 global plants.  According to William Schneider, IT Operations & Service Specialist, “the color printers we are using are about 6 to 7 years old.  Maintenance on these printers is difficult; with ribbons breaking constantly.  For break/fix service, we are required to send them to a non-local reseller which takes some time.  With the problems on maintenance and service, we went looking for an alternative to purchasing these $10,000 printers again.”

Working with me, Bill integrated a 30 day try/buy TM-C3400 demo printer into their SAP system easily.  He was very happy with the print quality of the tags from the TM-C3400.  Given that I am not a SAP “expert”, I was very ecstatic that we got them printing so quickly. 

Once running, Bill sent videos to the other plants as well as his manager of the TM-C3400 printer running and print samples.  After sending the video’s, Bill got very positive feedback, including this feedback from Bill’s German counterpart:  “looks good and will replace the printers if the price is OK.”  As the Epson TM-C3400 costs about 15% of their current option, I believe pricing is a significant advantage.

This success story from Almatis works on a number of levels.  First, contact your customers using Kanban solutions in manufacturing to discuss how color tags will increase the accuracy and speed of their production system.  Before you do, be sure to review my earlier blog post covering Upco to understand how the use of color labels and tags work for in-process inventory control.

Second, contact any of your customers using color thermal transfer printers to present how the Epson TM-C3400 ColorWorks label printer is less expensive and easier to use/service than thermal transfer color printers.  End users with TEC printers are great targets.

Third, contact your customers using SAP to see how color labels and tags would benefit their existing applications, especially printing Kanban cards.

And once you do contact these types of customers, let me know how I can help!

Guy Mikel

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chemistry = Opportunity!

Since 1995, Octochem has provided marketing solutions to the chemical, biotechnology and food ingredient industries; and has changed how marketing gets done for their customers. By bringing innovative internet-based logistic processes, OctoChem delivers samples to end users faster and at less cost while reducing risk for their chemical and biotechnology customers.  You can learn more at  


“With over 12,000 current products, we process over 675 individual sample orders per day”, according to Mark Langston, founder of Octochem.  “With new customers, we expect to process over 1,000 orders per day by April; ranging from as small as 20 grams to up to 5 gallons.  As each order requires a different label, we must print each label on-demand as required.  No way could we keep labels in inventory for each of these products.  Also, our customers do not allow us to use any label older than 2 months to prevent out-of-date labeling.”

As many customers ship internationally, Octochem is now required to comply with the Global Harmonized System of Labeling (GHS).  With GHS, Octochem is now required to print color icons, hazards and warnings to insure consistent communication internationally.  In addition, some customers want Octochem to produce labels with their logos.  To meet the new regulatory and customer requirements, Octochem purchased a TM-C3400 ColorWorks printer.

To print, Octochem accesses their customer’s SAP software to produce a label using Microsoft Word.  This process insures Octochem is using the latest version of the label; and makes it easy for their customer service agents to print the label and add it to the order.


“GHS is a looming standard for chemical shipments around the world.  As manufacturers in the Americas adopt GHS, I expect more sales of the TM-C3400 to the chemical industry.  These standards require color symbology with black text on labels that can stand up to chemicals.  Few print systems other than Epson can serve this need.”, according to Kelly Ng, Product Manager, Color Inkjet Products at Epson.  “Companies like Octochem need an easy method to produce durable, just-in-time color labels.  The old way of using pre-print blanks and black overprint is slow, cumbersome, error-prone and expensive.”

If you have Chemical Manufacturers with lots of products/SKU’s as customers, talk to them about moving to print-on-demand color labels.  Give me a call if I can help you with these types of prospects.

Guy Mikel

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lock Up New Opportunities

Clayton County Georgia Sheriff’s office runs the Clayton County Jail, which was completed in 2000 and has a capacity of 1,920 inmates.  Inside the jail, there are eight-96 cell, 192-bed housing units and eight-48-bed dormitories.  With an on-site medical facility, the jail cost over $93,000,000 which was paid in full prior to occupation by a Special Local Option Sales Tax. 

In the jail, deputies process 80 to 100 offenders each day.  During check-in, deputies print up to 12 labels (over 1,000 per day), including one that was required to be cut to size to fit into their non-destructible wristbands.  This process took a significant amount of time and created a great deal of waste according to Lt. Robert Pauls, who works in the administration of the jail.  “We needed a system to print and cut a label at the same time to fit into the wristband” says Robert.

Lt Pauls
Based on this need, Robert went looking for an alternative printer; and found the Epson TM-C3400.  Now the deputies print/cut and insert a 4” x 1” label with a picture into the inmate wristband.

Inmate Wristband with Print-On-Demand Label
“The label printer is saving us time and is much easier to use” says Robert.  “You guys should exhibit at one of the industry tradeshows.  I looked for a printer like the TM-C3400 at a recent show; but I did not see anyone exhibiting this type of device”.

 Examples include the following:

With between 3,200 to 4,000 prisons and jails in the United States, these institutions may be a great new opportunity for value added resellers to provide print-on-demand labels.  With one county jail using over 1,000 labels per day, this market sounds like an opportunity.

Guy Mikel

Monday, February 6, 2012

Branding On-Demand Means Business

Since 1993, The Hardware Exchange  has been providing pre-owned EMC Data Storage Systems to companies all across the United States, Canada, Brazil, UK, China, Taiwan & Japan.   They feature a full line of EMC Data Storage Systems and parts; providing customers a cost effective means to store and protect valuable data. 

In addition, The Hardware Exchange has an affiliated company, Symm-Care Services that offers a variety of Professional Services for EMC Data Storage Systems.  Because of the high cost associated with purchasing new storage hardware, The Hardware Exchange takes a unique approach; providing pre-owned EMC Systems and professional services to offer complete data storage solutions.  The trademarks of The Hardware Exchange’s storage professionals are EMC expertise and attention to detail.

With a focus on detail, The Hardware Exchange decided to improve the brand image of their company; especially when products/parts were sitting in their customer’s warehouses.  To improve the look of their packaging, The Hardware Exchange decided to begin using white boxes with color labels.  “We wanted our products to stand out like a sore thumb” says Robert Borlin of The Hardware Exchange.   “We wanted our brand to POP.  We thought color labels would make a big difference with our brand image.”

To design labels, The Hardware Exchange uses Microsoft Publisher.


When the labels are printed, the operators add the variable data to the template, print and ship.   Although happy with the labels designed in Publisher, Bob is considering moving to a label design software package.

When looking at this label, you must agree; the label looks great!  They stand out and POP showing this company’s attention to detail; and positioning The Hardware Exchange positively in the mind of their customer.  This strong image makes it easy to do more repeat business with them.

If you want to help your customers improve their brand image and repeat sales, talk to them about print-on-demand color labels with the TM-C3400.   You’ll strength your position with your customer also.

Guy Mikel

Thursday, February 2, 2012

UN Drives Print-On-Demand Color Label Opportunities

Oakwood Products, Inc.  is a fine organics manufacturing facility located in West Columbia, South Carolina, producing a wide range of organics with particular emphasis on fluorine and sulfur compounds. In addition to our extensive catalog, Oakwood also offers custom synthesis services. Oakwood is a division of Fluorochem based in the UK. 

Oakwood manufactures and trades in a variety of chemical compounds used primarily for research and development.  This company makes the building blocks for pharmaceutical companies trying to develop new drugs and is know for quality products for laboratory use.

With the United Nations effort on the global harmonized system of labeling (GHS), Oakwood is required to change their labeling practices.  Prior to the GHS requirements, Oakwood printed basic black on white labels using a standard thermal transfer printer.  With GHS, Oakwood is now required to print color icons, hazards and warnings to insure consistent communication internationally.  To meet these new requirements, Oakwood purchased a TM-C3400 ColorWorks printer.

According to Dr. Jeanne Steward, “Fluorochem in the UK started using the TM-C3400 to produce labels to meet the GHS requirements.  Once we purchased the TM-C3400, we designed templates for the labels and the configurations for the printer.  Importing of the configuration settings for the Epson ColorWorks label printer worked well.”

Scan of original label including color logo and icons
Scan of original label, including color logo and icons
With the deployment of the GHS UN initiative, companies like Oakwood need to begin producing on-demand labels for their international shipments of chemicals.  If you have chemical manufacturing customers who ship internationally, be sure to ask them about their plans to comply to the GHS requirements.  Or contact me to help you provide an on-demand color label solution.

Guy Mikel