Flexible Focus

Unique capabilities underpin Associated Labels’ standing as a top prime label printer in Western Canada.

Surviving and growing in a tough competitive environment requires the capability to focus on a core business mission, while having the flexibility to respond to ever-changing market trends. Associated Labels (www.associated-labels.com), a Vancouver, Canada-based printing and packaging enterprise, is one company that has found much success adapting its core business (flexo-printed prime labels) with changing market demands (capabilities for flexible packaging and digital printing).
If at first…

Associated Labels opened its doors in 1981 as an offset printing house with three full-time employees, says Rusty Ashworth, president of the company. It printed flat sheets and paper fish can labels in a market that required very competitive pricing. After two years of little-to-no growth, the company decided to take a new direction and moved into the pressure-sensitive prime label market.

To get started, Associated Labels purchased a 3-color Mark Andy flexo press. The move into the prime label market proved to be a successful endeavor, as today, Ashworth says the company is one of the largest suppliers of labels in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest. It operates around the clock in a facility of more than 50,000 sq. ft., with 120 employees, and 11 printing presses. With the growth of the company, it is now organized around four distinct production divisions: labels, flexible packaging, packaging equipment, and digital printing.

The company’s success stems from a core philosophy built upon its PEQ triangle: People, Ethics, and Quality. “These three elements work together in every aspect of our business, and without all three sides, we do not have a complete triangle,” says Ashworth. “Our commitment to quality includes an innovated application of Six Sigma principles and values. We always strive to provide the best, while surpassing our customers’ expectations in each and every element of our business.”

Markets in Western Canada are very limited, notes Ashworth, so Associated Labels’ focus is very general and not set on any particular industry. “We must have a wide scope for any pressure-sensitive prime label opportunity,” he says. To that end, the company has customers throughout Canada and the U.S. in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical food, personal care, and household cleaning product industries.

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