As home design outlets and decorative showrooms have expanded, it is now more common for consumers to see unopened product boxes on display. Conscious of their packaging being in the public eye, premium brand product vendors realized this was an opportunity to better communicate their brand message.

Cranford, New Jersey-based JACLO Industries is one of those brand-conscious vendors. It is a supplier of shower systems, grab bars, channel drains and other bathroom accessoriesto high-end decorative showrooms and plumbing wholesalers, and its products can be found in some of the country’s most renowned hotels.

The company ships approximately 1,000 products a day to decorative plumbing showrooms and plumbing supply houses and wholesalers. It used to use plain white cartons with black and white thermal labels. That’s no longer true these days.

“We realized we needed to step up our packaging and include an attractive, informative label,” says Chris Pike, chief operating officer at JACLO.

But this company also needed to solve a functional packaging problem that was costing time and money: SKU chaos. With over 40,000 product SKUs in stock, JACLO required a huge variety of pre-printed label stock to meet their graphic requirements.  This was creating serious challenges with their labeling operations.

When orders came in, packaging personnel would need to spend time finding labels for each package. Not only did this require additional inventory space, but finding the right label was causing delays and shipping mistakes. It all added up to problems that were affecting the bottom line.

JACLO decided it needed on-demand printing to eliminate the label confusion and produce a more decorative retail label.

“Our goal was to reduce errors, increase speed, reduce inventory and enhance the JACLO brand,” Pike says.

Pike was sold on the idea of moving to on-demand labeling, so JACLO installed a series of 14 Epson ColorWorks C3400 label printers, which produce color labels on demand as wide as 4.4 inches and at speeds up to 3.7 inches per second. This eliminated the need for pre-printed label stocks. The company was also able to connect the printers to its ERP system and automate its labeling operation.

According to Pike, the company now produces shipping labels immediately from a bank of printers, allowing personnel to identify boxed items and add colorful, descriptive graphics.

“Our old labels were plain white with a part number and a barcode,” Pike says. “Now we can add important information such as product descriptions and cleaning instructions. We can also customize generic boxes with specific box contents. We have about 14 different package sizes, but we can adapt each label to accommodate hundreds of different products.”

JACLO has expanded its product range from 25,000 SKUs to 35,000 and has plans for further growth. Besides removing product identification confusion, the switchover to on-demand color labeling contributed to a 15% sales increase. Pike further estimates their investment was returned a month after the implementation of on-demand printing.

Pike concludes that more customers are stocking his company’s products in inventory and the packaging is increasingly becoming part of point-of-purchase displays in showrooms.

For Pike, the best part of the switchover has been the effect on the company’s bottom line. “Simply put, we’ve reduced errors, increased our speed and reduced unnecessary label inventory.  And we get a pretty label to boot.”