Magazine Article | August 17, 2012

Solutions Provider Reaps Profits From Customized Label Solution

By Cindy Dubin, Business Solutions Magazine

This solutions provider overcomes the tough sell of its more expensive label by letting potential clients test the product in-house.

NETS Products Corp. provides custom labeling solutions for a range of POS (point of sale) applications, particularly in the fast-food industry. “We’ve all had the experience of ordering at a fast-food restaurant only to find that what we ordered isn’t what we actually received,” says Tom Niedzwiecki, executive VP at NETS.

Industry studies show that customer service in the fast-food business is directly related to order accuracy, yet the industry average for order accuracy ranges from 85% to 90%, explains Niedzwiecki. As a result, the sector loses close to $8 billion annually from inaccurate orders.

Based on inquiries from fast-food clients looking for a label material that could stick to packages, NETS saw an opportunity to create a specialized solution. Niedzwiecki worked with MAX International, a paper roll converting company, to develop a liner-free, sticky receipt for product identification. The result was MAXStick. Think of it as a direct-thermal label on adhesive steroids in that it uses a blend of adhesives to create a liner-free, removable, and repositionable label on a thermal roll that can be repositioned many times without tearing the packaging on which it is placed.

The only problem was that no printer existed that could print the sticky labels. So, the two companies presented their idea to Epson and had to convince the printer manufacturer about the value and benefits of the product. Epson liked the idea and ultimately developed the TM-T88 ReStick thermal printer dedicated to printing the biodegradable and recyclable labels ranging in lengths from 38 mm to 102 mm. It supports continuous rolls for variable length label output and produces 60% more labels per roll than die-cut labels.

In addition, NETS developed an order-processing system whereby drive-through customers would place orders at the outside kiosk, and the order would appear on the screen. As each item of the order is completed at the prep station, a label would print automatically for the preparer to place on the individual item.

“The labels improve order accuracy by 1% to 2%, which helps retain customers,” says Niedzwiecki. “The labels offer the consumer a degree of confidence that their order is correct.”

10 Libraries Select Printer/Label Combo

In addition to the fast-food industry, Niedzwiecki found success for the MAXStick labels and Epson printer solution in libraries. In fact, NETS has 10 public libraries that installed the printers to improve the circulation desk book reservation process. Using MAXStick, the libraries apply temporary labels on books to be reserved. Staff and customers can easily remove or reposition the label without damaging the book.

Libraries have traditionally utilized a cumbersome, manual book reservation process involving rubber bands, scrap paper, masking tape, and handwritten notes. This error-prone method was updated with the Epson TM-T88 ReStick, which allows staff to print labels that can be applied to books without any damage or sticky residue.

Since implementing the printers, 1,200 to 1,500 more items are being checked in daily as handwritten note holders are no longer required. “One of our libraries reports that it went from two people taking 2.5 hours to check in six boxes, to one person taking only 1.5 hours for the same work,” Niedzwiecki says.

Niedzwiecki adds that making a convincing argument to potential customers to purchase sticky labels is not easy. “A typical receipt roll is about 75 cents while MAXStick costs $5.00 per roll, and it is an ongoing cost,” he says. Add to that $300 to $400 for the printer.

“We have to overcome the objection that the sticky label roll costs more.” NETS does that by installing test printers at client sites so that they can evaluate the printers and media. “They have to touch and feel the product. After that, the sale is quite easy,” he adds.