Labels as part of the Sustainable Rawlplug vision

As part of a broader goal to have more environmentally friendly and cost-effective packaging and labels operations, Rawlplug took the decision to invest in the construction of its own polygraph printing capabilities. The decision was taken to construct this capability at the same location as Rawlplug’s production facilities in Wrocław, Poland, thereby dramatically reducing the distance travelled by labels between producer and final destination. What’s more, keeping production in house and nearby enables greater intimacy and better collaboration between production and end user, and Rawlplug is able to benefit from a partner that is focused on producing the highest quality product for a single client. The result of this arrangement is unrivalled quality, cost effectiveness and complete control over the production of labels – attributes that enable Rawlplug (and the Koelner brand) to stand out and differentiate itself from the competition and take environmental accountability into its own hands.

The motivation to produce our own labels

When taking the decision to overhaul our label-printing and procurement operations, we identified the following potential benefits:

  • Greater flexibility to adapt to production patterns
  • Reduction of stock, thereby reducing storage requirements and value of capital tied up in labels stock
  • The ability to count on a supplier that is 100% attuned to Rawlplug’s needs (i.e. no waiting for availability of materials, intimate knowledge of products and needs and the ability to tailor processes that help Rawlplug achieve compliance ‘as standard’ and not requesting print houses to adopt industry-specific requirements)
  • Reduce exposure to Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ) and Lead Time (LT) dictated by third-party suppliers, thereby ensuring greater control over process
  • Dramatic reduction of number of processes required to design and print labels
  • Systematic reduction of dependence on third-party suppliers
  • Reduced output thanks to ‘produce only what is needed’ approach
  • Reduced detrimental environmental impact, thanks to being aligned with a sustainability-focused client and the opportunity to establish printing operations with sustainability baked in (and not trying to retrofit sustainability into out-dated operations)
  • Optimisation of cost-effectiveness of label printing.

The implementation of label printing at Rawlplug

February 2014 – Just over two years after the initial decision to take Koelner’s (later Rawlplug) packaging and product labelling in a new direction, the Management Board took the decision to purchase the equipment required for the company to begin producing its own labels. Among the machinery acquired were HP Indigo digital printer and a flexo printing station. A space measuring eighty square metres and located close to the production operations was set aside and converted into a professional printing environment. The print house operates on two shifts, ensuring working hours that match the needs of the business.  

July 2014 – The newly acquired digital printers and flexo printing station were installed.

September 2014 – Production of labels was commenced.

Key facts and figures about Rawlplug’s label production and consumption

  • Annual consumption – 16,685,290 individual labels
  • Rotation within a 90-day period – 8,808,410 individual labels (This is the number or labels used within 90 days of their production, i.e. produced on an on-demand basis and not occupying valuable warehouse space unnecessarily.)
  • Value of labels purchased annually – 1,117,409 PLN (approx. 267,000 EUR)

Stock rotation

Rotation of stock is acceptable within a maximum period of three months. Within this three-month period, typically around 8,808,410 labels are used. This equates to approximately 95% of the annual use of labels by the company.

By investing in the construction of label printing capabilities, Rawlplug is able to eliminate the volume of labels that are likely to go unused, thereby creating the potential for huge savings and dramatic reductions in the volume of resources that are wasted.

Stock accumulation

By producing labels in line with actual needs, Rawlplug will be able to avoid the year-on-year increase of stocks. In the past, stocks have increased by as much as 1.6 million labels each year. This ne process has already yielded impressive results: stock reduction by 19% and annual savings in number of lebels by 10%.

Number of deliveries

Despite Rawlplug’s proprietary label printing capability coming on line in the second half of 2014, this was enough to have an impact on the number of label deliveries, with the number dropping to 400 in 2015 from 671 in 2014 and 744 in 2013. Rawlplug’s aim is for this number to be reduced to 150 by Q2 2016.

The benefits of proprietary label-printing capabilities

  • A 5,197,600g reduction in the volume of CO2 emitted into the environment between 2013 and 2014* and 7,560,00g between 2014 and 2015
  • Optimisation of logistics operations, with Rawlplug having complete control over production, lead Times, delivery dates, etc
  • Increased effectiveness and reduction of inventory-related work, thanks to smaller, faster-moving stock
  • Greater control over type and volume of resources used and freedom to implement Rawlplug’s eco-friendly practices.

Note: The year-on-year reduction of CO2 emissions is based on the new printing operations coming online in September. Had it been in operation earlier, the reduction would likely have been greater.


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