Following a break in 2017, we returned to Brussels this year to see what Label Expo 2019 had to offer. We ended up having a non-stop 3 days, early rise on Wednesday to catch our flight and following a slight delay, home in time for bed on Friday, with not much downtime in between. The show was as busy as ever, and we spent the first day catching up with suppliers and bumping to competitors as we wondered the 9 halls. To be fair there was no stand out "new kit", but it was apparent that machines seem to be getting wider, and the Hybrid press, a digital option running on a conventional press, looked to be more common. 

Some new materials from Herma looked to be of interest, and we hope this means we can offer a bio-degradable adhesive very soon, they also have some other "green" offerings and we await sample rolls so we can run some "live" jobs.

The evenings where as busy as the daytime, and Richard and Simon thank Fasson (Avery Dennison) for their hospitality on Wednesday night, and Flexo Concepts, Focus Label Machinery and Cheshire Anilox for theirs on Thursday, along with Herma, Kocher and Beck, Armor, Rotometrics and more who made the daytime a little easier.

Please keep an eye on our "blog" - https://securalabels.blogspot.com/ - where we aim to post more on the trip.              

We were very pleased last night to win the Business Contribution to Volunteering award at the Support Staffordshire Star Awards. Thanks to Lichfield Bid for presenting and sponsoring the award and to all at Lichfield Re:Cycle for the nomination. We have supported Lichfield Re:Cycle for many years, supplying promotional labels, sponsoring their venture into Pedal Car racing and provided the location and food for the feed stop on the 2017 and 2018 Ride Lichfield Sportives.

Re:Cycle supply bicycles to those who other wise may not be able to afford one, allowing access to work, gaining independence and the ability to attend social events, great helping many people. Many of the bikes have outlived their current homes and from their small workshop, they clean and refurbish these bikes ready for new owners. Many of the workshop volunteers themselves have found routes back to full time employment or have found/gained new skills and it has been great to see the success of the project and its many volunteers.

The group also provide and support many cycle rides and events throughout the year. In June 2019 the project gained charitable status.    

https://www.supportstaffordshire.org.uk/ 

https://lichfieldbid.co.uk/ 

https://lichfieldrecycle.org.uk/

There is much in the industry connected press and on social media regarding biodegradable and compostable self adhesives (labels), with many stating that they can now supply such. This adhesive was first brought to our notice in Summer 2018, we did indeed quote some work using this, however, before we had chance to even obtain sample material, the product was withdrawn. It appeared, to our understanding, that one of the components was in very short supply and so commercial supply was not possible.

Recently we noted that the product was being "advertised", to be fair not by the manufacturer, but by label printers and brokers. We, like many, inquired regarding cost, supply etc..... being surprised to be advised the product was not available. It seems that the product is still only available in limited supply, and only to those who, in the short window in 2018, manged to place orders. We are hopeful that at the forthcoming Label Expo others may be announcing similar products and so we to will be able to offer such materials. We do note though that if you were expecting the label could be placed in your garden compost bin, you may be disappointed, as approval is gained through the product composting in industrial compost units, of which, we are told., there are none in the UK! 

For many years it was felt that the small amount of adhesive on labels in your average household waste would fall under the allowed contamination levels, this view point has change though and the general advice, is that you should not recycle anything with a label -  "Therefore, stickers and product with stickers on it should not be placed in the recycling bin. Also avoid putting envelopes with sticky address labels on them in the recycling. The only exception, is Post-It Sticky Notes which have been engineered to break downs easily during the recycling process" To be honest each time we ask the question we get a slightly different answer.

The "green" options - we can very easily and at not more more cost, get material that is made from fully recycled product, there are products made from grape, apple and even marble waste, these though are more expensive. You may wish to review your labels, can you use a smaller a size? Would a paper based label work instead of a PP, PE Vinyl (Plastic) option? We would be happy to discuss these options with you.   

We will keep you posted, as the "Blue Planet" effect and in general more environmentally friendly products are demanded, then hopefully we, as an industry, will be able to offer such products.          

                

       

We were once again happy to welcome cyclists on the Ride Lichfield Cycle Sportives during Sunday 23rd June. The two routes, 100k and 60k, attracted nearly 200 riders who we managed to feed and water. This year we pulled in the help of local bike shop, Pickerings, to assist with any mechanical issues, while printer Ian, a keen photographer, attend the event with other members of Swadlincote Camera Club, the results can be seen HERE, you may also spot Simon in some of the pictures. In his role as a volunteer with event organisers Re:Cycle Lichfield, Simon played a large part in the planning of the routes, basing some on his regular cycle commutes.

The event, in its third year, also saw the "9 Chimes" ride on Friday, which sees riders try to beat the 9.00 O'clock chimes of Lichfield Cathedral and on Saturday incorporated the 6th running, sorry, riding, of the Lichfield Jolly, a family ride through Lichfield. This ride, attracting 50 plus cyclists of all ages, as usual ended at a local hostelry and also celebrated the organisation gaining Charitable status.

The rides are set to once again take place in June 2020 and if you would like any further details, please ask Simon next time you speak to him.      

As some of you may remember, Simon is no stranger to "Challenges", from trekking the Inca Trail in Peru, scaling the High Atlas Mountains and tackling the lower reaches of Annapurna, to a cycle challenge across the Sinai Desert. Closer to home he has cycled London to Brussels, via Amsterdam, trekked and cycled through the night. He was also part of a team of 7, who where the first, and only he thinks to, with a Tetraplegic team member, Cycle, Canoe and Climb Snowdon as part of a Triathlon style event, keeping up with double Paralympian, Stephen Osborne, made this one of the tougher challenges. He recalls keeping up with Steve on his hand-cycle down Llanberis Pass was one of the scariest rides ever!     

His latest challenge is to cycle "1,000 Miles in May" (27th April - 25th May), unlike most of his other events where he was part of a team or group, he is doing this alone, so will need to provide his own motivation, although helping out 4 year old twins, Charlie and Freddie, he says, will provide plenty. Following an early arrival at just 30 weeks, they spent the first 7 weeks of their lives in NICU, Charlie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (quadriplegic) soon after birth, Freddie (diplegic) shortly before his 2nd Birthday.

You can support Simon, well Charlie and Freddie, here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/simon-miller1000, your help, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated and go along way to helping the young lives of the twins.

Simon hopes to reach his target with a mix of commuting and longer weekend rides.  

 

We where lucky to be able to send all of the staff to the Kocher & Beck Training Academy recently. Split over two days, we enjoyed a very informative factory and site visit, which everyone very much enjoyed. Alongside this were several training modules, from safe handling of dies, to trouble shooting materials. These modules were well presented and the following "tests" provide some healthy competition, with relativity new starter, Tom, the first to get 100%!

We hope to provide more such opportunity and have several ideas currently under review. Many thanks to all at Kocher & Beck for their hospitality and help.   

 

   

  

Brexit - Possible "No Deal" implications -

We are sure we all hold our own opinions on both "Brexit" and what may happen after 29th March, however, the possibility of a "No Deal" / "Hard Brexit" outcome is looking more likely, as this gets closer we are being advised of the possible impacts on our raw materials.

We are holding more raw material than ever, up by around 25%, as are our suppliers, who are also reviewing their transport options / routes, but they are now stating that "we encourage you to enter your orders before early March", "Delays may occur in Customs clearance procedures resulting in longer supply lead-times.." 
With this in mind we will be reviewing further our stock, with the possibility of holding more.

Of more concern, is the cost implication and how this may be passed on. In the event of a "Hard Brexit", trade could continue under World Trade Organisation terms, this may see tariffs, import fees and brokers fees, the exact fees and costs still unclear.
Even more unclear is how these costs would be charged, by their nature, these would/may occur after order/dispatch and it is likely the extra charges "would be charged through a surcharge in a separate monthly invoice".

So, it is possible, that we too would need to be passing on such an invoice once we had had the costs through.
All the more work for us, as one order of raw material may cover several jobs and customers and so we would need to allocate a % of our "surcharge invoice" according!

The latest correspondence ends -
Whilst we have diligently reviewed our processes and the potential impacts of a “No Deal” Brexit, it is not possible for us to anticipate all possible consequences of this scenario or their duration and their potential impacts on supplies to our customers. Please be assured, however, that we are striving to minimise all potential disruptions wherever possible.
We would echo this.

The above is for your information, and we will need to gain further detail from our suppliers, once they are in a position to offer such. So while we cannot state what the costs are likely to be, we can only advise that in the event of a "No Deal" / "Hard Brexit", cost may be affected, and while we do not want to cause any panic, we do need to keep you advised of what may be ahead.

As we do get further details, we will do our best to keep you advised.      

There has been, and rightly so, much in the news recently regarding food labeling, particularly regarding allergens. We have staff here who could be affected by poor information in this area and so can understand why the issues are causing concern. We also ask ourselves, "what can we do?", "could we do more?" The unfortunate reality here is that we can do little, we can advise when a barcode is too small to print/read, give out thoughts on design, font size and readability, but advising what needs to go on a particular label, that is much more difficult.

We have had "start ups" in the food and beverage sector who have expected that has we already produce, say a  "chicken salad" sandwich label for their competitor, then we know what ingredients to put on their label, this could not be further from the truth. What butter, what salad dressing, could all change the information required, and so it is down to the customer to ensure that the information is correct. We can do our best to point people in the right direction, but for us to be fully knowledgeable on the latest information on food declaration, alongside what needs to be listed on chemicals, shampoo, electrical products etc..... would just not be possible.

There are plenty of useful websites to look at - a good starting point is here  https://www.gov.uk/food-labelling-and-packaging

Should you have any questions on your food labeling, what detail you need to have printed on chemicals or the information to be listed on cosmetics, then do give us a call - 01530 515170 - and we will do our best to either advise or point you in the right direction. 

 

              

We start 2019 receiving a prize - Cutter supplier Kocher and Beck embraced the Elf on the Shelf idea and sent out a small army of Santa`s helpers, inviting customers to send in photos of what the Elf got up to. We were very happy to be picked by the Kocher & Beck Elves as the best entry! - Pictured is Chris from Kocher & Beck presenting Simon with the well received prize.   

We have started 2019 just as busy as we finished 2018, not helped by the number of customers who seemingly have run out of labels. We had a situation last week where a "trade" customers customer was about to run out, meaning that no goods would be sent out from their warehouse, this was not just any warehouse, but a high profile High Street name..... luckily we were able to assist! We do apologise to those customers who did place their orders in good time, but who`s orders are now running late, we are catching up.