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

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