Local labelling experts Readability Ltd are celebrating 23 years in business this month and are taking the opportunity to reflect on the changes that have taken place in their industry over that time.
The company, based in Rookwood Way, Haverhill, was established in 1992 in response to the emerging trend for food and drink manufacturers to label boxes of products supplied to supermarkets with barcodes.
Readability provided everything required to print bar codes quickly and accurately using thermal transfer printing – software, printers, printheads and ribbons. With a growing customer demand for labels they eventually started to manufacture self-adhesive labels onsite.
In January 2006 Chris Edney became Managing Director and successfully steered the business through one of the toughest times that the print industry has ever experienced. Chris comments, “Print is an ever changing industry. Partly due to the levels of investment required but also because of the impact that changing technology has on both the manufacturing process and customer demand. It is vitally important for us to embrace new technologies and ensure our customers are able to take advantage of these opportunities to change.
We formed Readability in 1992 to supply a particular niche market. That market soon changed and we had to evolve, which is why we started to manufacture labels.
It wasn’t too long before plain white self-adhesive labels became a commodity item, margins diminished and our focus turned to volume; despite the fact that we knew the profit was in the shorter run bespoke printed labels. We achieved sales growth of 25% in 2009 – an amazing achievement given the financial backdrop but the mass market wasn’t a place we wanted to compete.”
In 2012 Readability stopped manufacturing plain labels to concentrate on developing sales of custom printed labels to niche market sectors. They are now a leading supplier to various sectors including the fast growing E-cigarette market.
Operations Manager Philippa Griffin explains, “Our labelling expertise is really put to the test supplying labels to manufacturers and resellers of E-liquid.
It is such a competitive market place with literally thousands of different flavours for vapers to try. The number of labels per flavour is often relatively small lending itself to the flexibility of digital print. The way the E-liquid bottle looks influences buyer behaviour – suppliers want product enhancing eye catching labels that will make their bottles stand out on the shelf.
E-liquids come in various sizes, the smallest being 5ml and it can be quite challenging to fit the required information onto such a small space. Fortunately we can provide multilayer options and labels that have tactile warning triangles integrated into the label. The E-liquid labels have to be spill and scratch proof which we achieve through the use of specialised inks and finishes.
We love using our extensive experience to create labelling solutions that enable customers to achieve their marketing objectives and comply with legal obligations.”
The Readability team will be celebrating their 23rd birthday with a dinner party hosted by Managing Director Chris Edney and his wife Helen.
If you would like to find out more about Readability call Chris Edney on 01440 712273.