A Permanent Fixture
How often have you walked through your warehouse and looked around at all of the preprinted labels sitting on your shelves that are outdated and unusable? You ordered what you thought would be the correct amount, but now that the year has come to an end- you realize that it is impossible to estimate the number of labels that will be required for next year. If only there was a way to print these labels on-demand- when they are needed. That very question is what Nutron Manufacturing set out to solve.
Nutron Manufacturing, founded in 1960 by Joseph Feinberg, is located in New London, CT . They currently employ about 20 people and are growing rapidly. They manufacture emergency and standard lighting fixtures ranging from commercial to domestic which they sell all over the United States to a variety of businesses.
They ship their fixtures to their customers is in a carton that is labeled with a description of the contents, a picture of the type of lighting fixture and a bar code. Seeing as Nutron has a diverse customer base, the requirements in shipping to them vary for each client. The bar code symbology and picture varies by client.
In the past, Nutron bought all of their labels pre-printed to satisfy these requirements. At first, this seemed like the most economical thing to do. Any time a customer made a request, the label would be all ready to ship. Over time though, it became a problem for a number of reasons.
Some products moved slower then others which meant the labels for that particular product would sit on the shelves and become obsolete. Customers would also change their requirements for the type of bar code or picture, which meant throwing out the old labels and reordering new.
After careful consideration, Nutron needed a change and quick. They needed a system that would work in a windows environment, create their labels on-demand and also had the flexibility that is required for their customers. After much research and evaluation of many products, they selected a software product called Tattoo ID. According to Wayne Tagg, “Tattoo ID is the easiest for designing purposes and it created an environment in which our operators could easily create labels.”
Tattoo ID, created by Integrated Software Design, is a bar code and labeling software package developed for the windows platform. Tattoo ID is a very unique labeling package with features like full page layout mode and configurable auto save. Although this list goes on and on, Nutron chose Tattoo ID because, unlike it's competitors, it allowed them to include a variable picture on their label.
When Nutron ships out cartons to their customers, the picture that is placed on the label comes from a variety of sources. I can come from the customer themselves or it could have been designed in-house. Product pictures are commonly supplied on disk and may be in a variety of graphic formats such as .pcx, .tif, .jpg and .gif. Tattoo ID supports over 28 different graphic formats and hundreds of variants therefore any of Nutron’s customer graphic formats are acceptable.
Another important feature that Nutron needed was on-screen picture editing. Since most of their labels contained pictures, some editing of the picture was needed once it was on the label to make it fit with all of the other properties. With other software packages, editing a picture right on the label is not possible but Tattoo ID has a built in picture editor that allows modifications such as flipping, reversing, merging and resizing. Any changes that need to be made can be done right then without having to go into the program that the picture was created in. This saves them a lot of time and allows them to see exactly what the picture will look like on their label giving them a true WYSIWYG package.
Cost, like with any company, is always an important factor. After calculating the direct savings that Nutron achieved by purchasing Tattoo ID, it is estimated that they achieved their return on investment in just 2 months after purchasing the product. This alone made it a very worthwhile investment. On the other side of savings, Nutron created better relationships with their customers because they were now able to create labels to satisfy all of their requirements just-in-time. This directly resulted in maintaining better customer relationships which expands their market.
In the future, Nutron will be looking into using Tattoo ID’s bar coding features for further savings in inventory, product tracking and production data collection.