- Time-consuming manual processes
- Stock-take required large numbers of people and not always accurate
- MR Label needed a solution for their flexo, digital and screen print business
- Needed a program and support that would help them manage the challenging and unusual projects they undertake
- Inventory takes one person one day, rather than six people more than one day
- MR Label has gone from manual systems to an end-to-end integrated program to handle their entire operations
- Label Traxx manages all of their print processes: flexo, digital and screen
- Even complex constructions are handled by MR Label. Label Traxx tech support are on hand to provide advice when required
Pat Meehan, Jr., with his brother, Tim, and his sister, Bridget, literally grew up in the label business. Meehan’s earliest memory of the label business goes back to when he was only 10 years old, and was recruited by his father, Pat Meehan, Sr., to assemble kits for a customer who wanted 14 different labels in each pack.
The elder Meehan started MR Label as a print jobber from his home in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1975. (MR, in this case, does not mean Mister. The M stands for Meehan, and the R for a potential partner who opted out at the last minute when the company was formed.) At first, MR Label had no presses, and jobbed out to various label printers any orders that Meehan landed. But finding that customers preferred direct contact with the businesses printing their labels, Meehan installed a single-color flexographic press in rented space behind a bar in the early 1980s. His first installation included a screen press, and ever since MR Label has offered labels printed with either process. The business soon outgrew the space behind the bar, and in the mid-80s moved to a vintage building built in the late 1800s. In 1990, Pat Meehan, Jr., graduated from college and joined the company full time. Pat Meehan, Sr., retired in 2007, joining his wife, who had retired earlier.
Pat Meehan is justifiably proud of the MR Label business. He notes that sales are about one-third screen labels and decals, and two-thirds flexographic labels. But routine label or decal jobs are not what really excite Meehan. Talk to him about a difficult label construction for a special purpose, or about doing something different like printing on the adhesive, and Meehan won’t sleep until he figures out how to do the job. He loves to describe a huge job—seven weeks of round-the-clock production—manufacturing a very difficult label construction for the Volkswagen Passat which was bound into every copy of Rolling Stone and National Geographic magazines one month a few years ago. Or a universal label done for Flint Ink in nine different languages. Or the long-running job producing flexible membrane switches for an electronic manufacturer. Or producing 150,000 iron-on decals annually using a process developed by the MR Label staff. Meehan rises to the challenge when customers come to him, and ask: “Could you do this? We’ve had it with our current supplier!”
Pat Meehan’s tendency to respond to challenges actually began soon after he joined the company out of college. Frustrated with the manual way that estimates were prepared, and with the lack of actual cost information, Meehan searched nearly five years for an MIS system that would support MR Label. Early in his search, he found Label Traxx, a print business management MIS system manufactured by Tailored Solutions of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Says Meehan: “We were doing handwritten estimates—not even using a spreadsheet like Excel or SuperCalc. When we installed Label Traxx, we were doing estimates within a week or two, and within two months our estimates were consistent within three percent regardless of who prepared them. That was when I asked myself: ‘Why did this take me five years?’”
Today, MR Label employs virtually every module in the Label Traxx suite—estimating, order entry, job tracking, invoicing, accounts receivable and payable, stock products, and more. Meehan comments: “Flexo orders are entered using Label Traxx; and screen orders are entered manually. When we first installed Label Traxx, we were a little concerned that it would not support our extensive screen printing business. And we did have a few issues, but in almost every instance we found we could easily adapt Label Traxx to do the job. Today we use Label Traxx for all our jobs—even the unusual ones like the membrane switches. If we make it, the quotes are done with Label Traxx.”
Label Traxx is used throughout the MR Label plant. Four workstations are available to press operators, and virtually every office worker has one. Says Meehan: We take inventory here four times each year. Before we installed Label Traxx, it took six people a day or more to do the job. Now, one person can do the entire inventory in less than a day. And, it is far more accurate.
Meehan’s tendency to push the technological envelope recently came to the fore when he went digital by installing a Jetrion to bridge his screen and flexo printing operations and respond to market demands for shorter runs and quicker turnaround. When the digital press was installed, Meehan quickly found that Label Traxx supported digital printing—a feature that was added as more and more flexo printers began embracing digital for short run, quick turnaround jobs.
Talking about the tech support he receives from Label Traxx, Meehan said: “We not only like the software, we like the people behind it. We find it easy to reach Label Traxx tech support, and they are particularly helpful with our often unusual problems or suggestions. We would never go back!”