- Running with a pure accounting program did not meet all of the business’ label-specific requirements
- Needed a program that would work on both Mac and PC
- Job estimations were not reliable
- Century Label has drastically increased sales with less people
- Acquisition of another label company facilitated as both sites used Label Traxx
- Wise states that Century is now efficient and profitable
Although Randy Wise only bought his company, Century Label, a decade ago, he is no newcomer to the label business. His first exposure to the industry was in the late 1970s, in Kansas City. He followed his wife, Geri, to a new job in New Jersey, where he worked with another label manufacturer, and then to Texas, for a stint with still a third label producer. By 1999, Wise was ready to make the leap from employee to owner, and he purchased 25 year old Century Label, an established Dallas supplier of prime labels to both regional and national customers.
Because Century Label was a small company when he bought it, Wise initially managed it with Quick Books. But he quickly found that a generalized accounting program was not entirely appropriate for such a specialized business. So Wise took a bold step: “The first major purchase I made after we bought Century Label was a Label Traxx software system, made by Tailored Solutions of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I had seen Label Traxx at a Labelexpo show in Chicago, and was impressed with what I saw, so I knew this was the kind of help I needed to manage the business. And, I felt that we could make it work—particularly since it enabled us to mix Macs and PCs in the same environment.
“Because I was unfamiliar with databases and the like, I hired an outside consultant recommended by Label Traxx, and within just a few hours he had us up and running. The key was entering our equipment into the system properly, enabling us to get reliable estimates.” Wise added: “Although it took some time for us to gain complete confidence in the system, now Label Traxx is used throughout the plant. Every employee is trained on the system, and although specialized workers like rewinders do not log their time on the system, they still use it to determine job status and look at schedules.
The Century Label business was successful enough that after a few years the Wises were ready to expand. Their choices were whether to make their Dallas operation larger, or to expand by purchasing another label supplier. Ultimately they bought Hyde Park Label in nearby Austin, Texas. “Buying an Austin supplier made us a true regional presence in the marketplace, but still provided us a business that was easier to manage than if it were further away. One of the major things that influenced us to make this specific acquisition was that Hyde Park was already a Label Traxx user, and we felt that integrating the two companies would be relatively easy. We had to do some training at the new company, but the software similarities made the acquisition go more smoothly than most.”
The Wise business strategy is to fully integrate the two companies, with one common database, which he expects to take roughly 18 months. When integration is complete, Label Traxx will quickly show the better plant in which to run a specific job, based on expected profitability, delivery time, equipment utilization, or any other criteria he selects. “Although we are still using separate databases, Label Traxx is consistent and predictable enough that when we estimate the same job in the two plants the difference in projected costs is usually within pennies.”
Looking back, Wise says: “If it were not for Label Traxx, we would not be where we are today. Label Traxx lets us do much more with fewer employees. We particularly value the module webinars and user group meetings offered by Label Traxx. These enable us to continue to learn the intricacies the system and how to use its many features. Today we do not have to guess about our results, or wait for an outside accountant to tell us whether we are making money. We are efficient, profitable, and have consistently logged record years even when the economy has tanked. Label Traxx has played an important role in our growth and success.”