Label Leaders, the South African converter based in George, has built its business on a long-term relationship with Mark Andy. Most recently, it has installed its sixth flexo press from the American manufacturer, delivered and commissioned by Sarepco, which has been the Mark Andy representative in southern and central Africa for more than three decades.
Speaking for Label Leaders, co-owners Theo Raubenheimer and his sister Rene Koen commented: “Our philosophy is based on establishing close relationships with all business partners, both customers and suppliers, and Mark Andy has been a strategic partner since my parents first started the company.” Highlighting this, is the fact that all the Mark Andy presses at the George plant have been delivered by Sarepco in what Raubenheimer describes as a relationship that guarantees good advice to ensure every project is successful.
Recipe for success
“Our values have not changed since we started. We focus on high quality products and service. Developing close working relationships allows us to make strategic decisions faster, and as a privately-owned company, our flexibility is appreciated by our partners,” he stated.
The same philosophy forms the basis of cooperation with suppliers. Whether it’s a press, substrate, or ink, Label Leaders needs the suppliers’ support. This has been especially important recently with the issues caused by the pandemic and supply shortages. Despite the difficulties, it has been a successful period for the company, which has made further investments, including the Evolution Series E5. The company has also built up a stock of various substrates to ensure customers get their labels on time.
Label Leaders Team with Mark Andy Evolution Series E5
Time for a new press
It was during a visit to Labelexpo 2019 in Brussels that Theo first saw the Evolution Series. “It attracted us from the start with its short make-ready time, high speed and simplicity of operation,” he said. With the likelihood of a second shift looming, which the company wanted to avoid, the decision was made to invest in an E5, and it was installed in August 2021.
The new press is equipped with eight flexo printing units and the new QCDC die-cutter. “As it’s a Mark Andy, we can use the plates, cylinders, and dies that we had already, which allows us to optimise costs and streamline the machinery park,” he explained. The new E5 joins other Mark Andy presses at Label Leaders, including a Performance Series P5, a 2200, a Scout, and an 830 that has been there since the beginning. Asked why it wasn’t in the company’s museum, Theo quipped: “Because it still works and earns money!”
Wider web – higher capacity
The new E5 brings much-needed additional capacity to Label Leaders and offers shorter delivery times. “Labels are special products that will always be needed. To develop new designs with new substrates we needed a press that was fast to make-ready and changeover, and with its wider web width it’s a very effective tool.”
Label Leaders supplies three main market sectors: retail, dairy, and wine, and while each has its own specific requirements, Theo says that print quality and reliable delivery are common to all. In the case of the wine industry, it’s vital that labels are delivered the same day the wine is bottled so as not to affect the alcohol level.
With the current global shortage of substrates and more than 500 different labels to manufacture, the company needs to maintain a high stock level in its warehouse to keep customers happy, but also find optimum production parameters to preserve margins. Longer runs is one solution, even if paper prices have risen fourfold since December 2021. “This is where having such as flexible press as the Evolution works well and fits with our business philosophy,” he said.
Sarepco – a long-term business partner
Theo Raubenheimer sees Sarepco as an ongoing stimulus to his company’s business. In addition to delivery, assembly, and staff training, Sarepco takes care of many future-proofing actions, including annual preventative maintenance and repair. “We like the fact that Sarepco technicians are always available – it gives us a feeling of security and comfort knowing that our Mark Andy equipment is in good hands,” he added.
Paul Bouwer, Director of Sarepco commented: “I remember the beginnings of Label Leaders and signed the original contract for a Mark Andy 830 with Ben Raubenheimer, Theo’s Father. What’s interesting is that this press is still in daily use here!” Bouwer is also impressed with the way that Label Leaders has managed the large distances between the main cities in South Africa and credits the management team of what has become one of the biggest privately-owned label printing house in the country. “We’re delighted that this development is based on Mark Andy technology. The recent installation of the E5 confirms the quality of the equipment and underlines the trust in Sarepco as Mark Andy’s local dealer,” said Bouwer. Speaking for Mark Andy, Executive VP Tom Cavalco concluded: “We’re happy that Label Leaders’ management follow the same principles that we do at Mark Andy. This close working partnership began in the 1980s and we are proud that the Raubenheimer family continues to invest in Mark Andy technology. I’d like to add a special word of thanks to Sarepco who have been with us for 35 years and have been fundamental to Label Leaders’ success.”