The label is a big part of your brand and far too important to be left to chance – so how can you be sure that your label manufacturer really understands you, the UK market, your industry and your product?

We believe that any label supplier should provide value to your complete supply chain. If you have experienced any of the issues below, it may be time to change.

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#1: The labels are too fragile for your product and supply chain

What good does it do to have impeccably designed labels if they fall off or are damaged before the products reach the consumer? Even after purchase, your customers should be able to read the label for informational purposes.

E.g.

Labels for shampoo bottles that don't endure water, or labels for frozen goods that fall off when exposed to below zero degrees aren't very functional – and your clients will agree.

That's why it's vital to keep in mind the impact your product will go through during application, storage, transportation and sales before design characteristics are chosen for your specific label. In many cases, it may be exposed to rather harsh environmental fluctuations such as cold, heat, moisture, dirt or solvents during its life cycle.

An experienced label supplier should be able to forsee and explain your label's quality and durability needs in connection with the packaging to which it is to be affixed.

E.g.

Cardboard and PET bottles have different material properties that must be taken into account when choosing adhesives, printing inks and label materials.

#2: Your labels aren't delivered on time

Long delivery times often implies that you won't get your product out to your vendor or customer on time.

Therefore, it is important that your labels are delivered on time and in the right place. If this is currently a problem, you should consider whether your label suppliers logistics solutions.

More importantly – the bigger the business, the more critical it is that your subcontractors can deliver as agreed, even during difficult times. This requires that your subcontractors have a contingency plan so that crises do not affect your supply.

Read more: Is your label supplier rigged for another crisis?

Your label manufacturer should have an excellent backup plan covering the need for both material supply and production capacity. That way, different production sites can help and supply each other to secure deliveries. If a supplier has several label factories, they will quickly come to each other's aid if one production site is forced to stop production.

#3: Your labels do not meet sustainability goals

Stricter environmental requirements – nationally as well as internationally – affect the development of packaging and packaging solutions. Your label supplier should know these requirements in detail and offer innovative and sustainable packaging solutions for your product. A national supplier will naturally be best acquainted with the regulations in its country and will also be able to consider changes in legislation not yet entered into force.

Smarter choices throughout the supply chain can have a significant effect. Take, for example, L'Oréal, which switched to using a thinner and lighter label material, thus reducing its carbon footprint by 7%.

Remember! If you miss out on improvements and innovations, you quickly miss out on updates that consumers are concerned about. Whether it's solutions that affect function, sustainability, costs or design, they can all be sales arguments to the end-user.

#4: Your labels have insufficient information

Your product must be labelled with adequate and accurate information. There are countless laws and regulations for what must be on a label. An absolute requirement – regardless of industry, is that the brand's contact information must be provided. Beyond this, the rules for information will vary from industry to industry and product to product.

Therefore, it is essential to work with a label manufacturer who has familiarized themselves through vast experience and genuine interest with the rules that apply to your particular products.

#5: Your labels cost more than they need to

What you pay for your labels is not just about the price per label but also how the entire portfolio is structured.

Does your label manufacturer use more colours than necessary to create the design? Do you order more formats than you need? Is your inventory optimized? What does your ordering pattern really look like?

If you do not have the answers to these questions yourself, your label supplier should have them – and help you find ways to cut costs without cutting corners.

After all, these are all factors that ultimately raise the total cost of your labelling purchase. Reducing the complexity of the design process at an early stage can make your label portfolio more cost-effective.

If your labels' cost seems too high, you should let your supplier do a complete analysis and optimization of the label portfolio. If your current provider doesn't have the resource for this, it could be financially wise to ask a different supplier about the same task.

#6: The labels do not have the correct or innovative functionality

The design and function of your product can have a significant impact on how you build your brand. Likewise, the functionality of the labels can and should be a strategic part of your marketing efforts. Choose a supplier who can offer and advise you on the solution that makes your product more functional.

Here are a few examples of how labels can elevate the customer experience:

  • Does your current label supplier have the knowledge and tools to advise you on how to trigger your customers with sensory textures, scents and decorations after he or she has picked up your product? This is possible with the right label supplier.
  • Maybe your product would be easier to pick up and transport if the carrying mechanism was an integral part of the total packaging? Labels used as handles do just that and give you more space to communicate with the customer.
  • Want to give your customers a more seamless shopping experience? Intelligent labels – that are connected to digital services – offer many possibilities. With these smart labels, you can track inventory or continue to communicate with your customers after the purchase has been completed.

Being at the forefront of innovation is quite different from simply jumping on the latest trend. Therefore, your label supplier should be at the forefront of both experience and development. That way, you can be one of the first to use new solutions as soon as they hit the market.

#7: Your supplier provides poor service and follow-up

Succeeding in packaging and labelling is more complex than you might think. Therefore, it is crucial that your provider also acts as a dedicated advisor – who understands your specific needs and is available to solve your problems as they emerge.

You need a personal product expert with experience from your particular industry.

Such a person will be acquainted with the needs and challenges you may face in terms of compliance, sustainability goals, quality or product campaigns.

Here at Skanem UK, from Cardiff to Liverpool, it's not just about delivering what you ordered – it's also about making sure you're getting the best solution for your specific product and market. Ensuring that the labels will continue to grow your sales and function for your brand.

Time for a new label supplier? Get in touch here or download the e-book below for more labelling and packaging insights.

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