When I received a recent invitation from Stratus Packaging, a FINAT member, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the event, not only because I have supported FINAT for the last 4 years but above all because I knew it would bring me into the heart of the label converting industry.
March 28th turned out to be a glorious sunny day for the 100 guests who turned up to the official opening of the Stratus Group’s newly-expanded manufacturing unit in Lille (France). As one of Europe’s larger label converters, the Stratus Group also has plants in Bourg-en-Bresse and Limoges and employs a staff of 225 for a turnover of 37 million euro. The company also has plans for a fourth plant in early May.
The expansion of an additional 1000 m² in Lille will allow for extra storage capacity (both raw materials and finished labels) and the site now boasts a new, additional entry for employees to enter the manufacturing area – which was one of the many prerequisites to become BRC IOP certified. As a result, the Stratus Group will become the first label printer in France to receive BRC IOP certification.
We were warmly welcomed and received a 360° tour that gave us full insight on the Group’s automated back-office support, prepress, printing processes and warehousing capabilities.
Host and managing director Isidore Leiser introduced Stratus Packaging experts who took us through the newest developments and initiatives taken to stay abreast of the latest technologies, regulatory requirements and customer demands.
"The label printing industry has become a ‘service business’," said Mr. Leiser. "In the past, label converters were primarily printers. Today, they have had to evolve to become full service providers. It has become crucial to provide additional, more efficient and flexible services that can help to differentiate us as a mid-sized player on what remains a very competitive market."
I learned that to support and drive growth, the Stratus Group opts for long-term strategy and initiatives including:
- a strong ERP backbone to streamline the business processes
- a lean manufacturing approach to optimise costs
- state-of-the art prepress processes and printing equipment that guarantee quality and speed
- certification programmes to meet ongoing regulatory, qualitative or environmental requirements, in particular in the food hygiene sector
These strategic initiatives have resulted in being able to produce high-quality labels, offer sharper prices and fulfill orders faster. Additional benefits include delivering and storing on demand, providing better service and increasing customer satisfaction.
One visitor, looking at some sample labels on display, expressed how impressed he was with the level of quality and even asked to what extent and at what cost could the boundaries of perfection be pushed further in this industry. It clearly demonstrated that the Stratus Group is not a multiple FINAT label award winner by sheer luck!
Upon my return a couple of days later, I was happily surprised to receive a personalised thank you note with a brief satisfaction survey. For me, it showed the Group’s continuous engagement in expanding and improving the quality of its services, and definitely an initiative that helps improve customer loyalty.
Attending trade fairs is one thing, receiving a personal tour on the actual ‘printing’ floor and adjacent facilities of a company certainly ticked all my boxes and made this label visit a very rewarding experience.
Lut Verschueren - duomedia