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Willenhall Labels Printer Boosted By Digital Investment

Posted in CS Labels News by Admin on 08:31 October 01st, 2013
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A Willenhall family label printing company’s move into digital technology has paid off with sales booming.


CS Labels, of Willenhall Trading Estate, Midacre, has invested more than £2 million since 2008 when it bought its first digital labels press – it now has three in operation and all labels are printed digitally.



The business has been transformed under the leadership of managing director Simon Smith who joined CS Labels in 2000 after a career in banking and is now on sustainable footing.

Since 2000 the number of people employed has tripled from 10 to 30 – seven have been added in the last 18 months – and turnover has grown from £650,000 to a predicted £2.5m this year.


Humble Beginnings Of UK‘s Leading Digital Labels Printer


Mr Smith, aged 50, had no experience in the printing business before taking over the company which had been started by his father-in-law Roger Hughes in 1976 as Creative Screen Print.

He joined his wife Lee and brother-in-law Guy Hughes as a director and by applying his banking experience has changed the fortunes of the business and moved it in a new direction.

“The company was a small business that had been starved of investment and lacked a clear business plan or strategy,” said Mr Smith.


The Move To Digital Print And Future Growth Prospects


The firm moved from Fordhouses to its current site in 2003 but was then hit by a number of their label printing accounts moving to China causing turnover to fall 30 per cent in 2005.

“When we went digital we broke the mould and started to grow again,” he added.

Last year CS took on an adjoining unit to increase its space on the estate to 11,000 sq ft including a mezzanine floor.

“This has doubled our digital label production area and provided a new studio, board room and offices,” explained Mr Smith.

CS has just taken on the delivery of a new finishing line which has now started operation.The company is now looking to take on an extra two staff as it gears up for continued growth.

“We are targeting 25 per cent growth for 2014 and have just taken on a new contract for 22 million labels,” added Mr Smith.

He said that the firm was on course to eventually increase its annual turnover to between £3.5m and £4m.


Newest Technology For Speeding Up The Digital Printing


The new equipment has enabled CS Labels to produce ‘peel and reveal’ and other digital labels in house and they are now able to put high quality images on almost any kind of material.

“There are almost limitless opportunities with our new technology. We are not limited in the size of labels or images we can now reproduce. We are also now able to take customers’ products and enhance the brand image and make it stand out,” added Mr Smith, who is proud that eight of the staff who were there in 2000 have been retained and re-trained with the new skills needed for digital printing.

Mr Smith said CS was continuing to win new orders from across the UK by word of mouth from satisfied customers and increasingly engaging a new audience through its own website –www.cslabels.co.uk – and via social media.

“We encourage new customers to come see us and experience what digital labels printing is and what we can do for them,” he added.


Past Experiences And The Volumes Of Digital Print


Mr Smith said his banking experience had helped the company access funding, including grants through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, by making a case to seek support for emerging technology, which has given the company the opportunity to access new markets. “We have been able to carry out the investment without increasing our overdraft ,” he said.

Just yesterday, CS Labels hosted an event at the Village Hotel in Walsall to showcase the printing technology of its suppliers Xeikon.

Over the years CS has bought five Xeikon presses and currently has three in operation including the largest digital labels printer in Europe using Xeikon technology.