Consolidated Label charts a path to continual growth through investment and dedication to customer service.July 2012 By Jean-Marie Hershey
Joel Carmany purchased Consolidated Label in 1984 with the intention to grow the fledgling regional label company into a nationwide business. Twenty-eight years later, the company's growth and reputation reflect his singular success made manifest in every way.
In Consolidated's case, "growth" refers not only to the 10 to 15 percent revenue increase the company aims to achieve each year—regardless of economic conditions—but also to the progressive expansion of its product lines, a habit of capital investment, and the enlargement of its workforce and physical plant. Specializing in digital and flexographic pressure-sensitive label printing and diecutting for food, household, pharmaceutical, and personal care products, Consolidated has moved decisively into flexible packaging and shrink sleeves over the past two-and-a-half years. Taking a long view of its need for space, Consolidated's original 1,200-square-foot location has given way to a 75,000-square-foot facility in Longwood, Fla., filled with no fewer than 10 flexographic and two HP digital label presses, and the company currently is eyeing a nearby property that would provide it with 200,000 square feet and room to spare.
It's clearly a winning formula for Consolidated Label; the company has moved rapidly from annual sales of $200,000 in its first year to more than $60 million today, and has been the recipient of the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute's (TLMI) Eugene Singer Award for Best Managed Company for 10 years running. Beyond this however, what distinguishes Consolidated Label from its competition—and from many manufacturing firms in general, according to Carmany—is its relentless focus on the customer. While dedication to customer service can be a superficial cliché in the corporate mouths of companies merely content to pursue business as usual, Consolidated's commitment to the customer is the bedrock and driving principle of its corporate universe and operating philosophy.
Putting the customer first
"When I started this business, I quickly determined that most companies tended to be manufacturer-driven," Carmany said. "At Consolidated, we turn that concept on its head by putting the customer at the center of our business in three ways: first, by having the expertise to recommend the right label products; second, by delivering on the customer's schedule, rather than on ours; and third, by understanding our customer's need, which implies listening to them in the first place. Instead of the art department scheduling a job, for example, someone in our customer service department will identify the relevant priorities and adjust the production schedule to the demands of the customer. Instead of the customer asking, 'When can I have my labels?', we ask, 'When do you need them?'"