We Live Here!  Visit Portland Soon

We Live Here! Visit Portland Soon

We Live Here!

This picture was taken last week while visiting a winery customer in the Columbia River Gorge.  The view is breathtaking and it really gave me pause.  I had to look again to really take in the beauty of the view.  Too often, at least for me, I get caught in the hustle of working and don’t take time to ‘smell the roses’ – or the fresh air, mountains, or sunshine.  We really are fortunate and blessed to live in such an amazing place.  We get paid to work with people in a setting like this -wow!

Competitive Advantage

Not only is it fun to live here, but it really is a competitive advantage for Rose City Label.  Because of the setting we live in, we are surrounded with smart, happy, energetic people.  These people create businesses and have products they need to market.  People here really care about their business and their end customers, so they are ideal partners for us as a printing provider.  And, we have a great supply of talented people to work within our business.  They are smart, passionate, and committed to the customers that trust us every single day.  This isn’t a magic formula – it still takes tremendous work each day to keep our commitments – but having the setting and the scenery that we do certainly helps.

Come And Visit

Most of our customers are within 100 miles of our shop in SE Portland, but some are further away.  If you aren’t local, please visit our great city and make time to visit your label printer while you are in the area.  We are very proud of our clean, organized shop and we would love to give you a tour.  Come and visit if you are in the area.

Thank You!

None of this would be possible without out amazing customers’ trust.  They put faith in us every day and we take the responsibility seriously.  We work hard to meet your needs, but we are very blessed to do that hard work in such a beautiful place.  Call us today if there is anything else we can help with.  We are here to help your business grow.

Oregon Beer Wins Big – World Beer Awards

Oregon Beer Wins Big – World Beer Awards

Rose City Label Customers Win Big!

We are proud to be partners with some of the best brewers in Oregon and beyond.  Making great beer is the most fundamental thing that will help these people grow their business, and they really are making great beer.  From all different styles and different sized breweries, the Oregon brewers took home many, many awards this year.

World Beer Cup – National Competition

This event isn’t for shy people – the competition is fierce and nobody likes to lose.  But winners like these don’t back down – they want to know how good they really are, so they enter competition to find out.

Seventeen Oregon Breweries won awards this year – click here to see the Oregon List

More than half of these are current and former Rose City Label customers – way to go!

The full list of all award winners can be found on the World Beer cup website by clicking here.

Great Beer Needs Great Packaging

Having great beer is the foundation, but in order to really build your brand, you need great packaging.  Labels matter too!  Click here to learn more about Beer Label Design. We are proud to help these great brewers tell their authentic brand story.  Great beer is the key, but to win over the long term, you need the total package – great beer, fun on-premise experience, and excellent packaging in the bottle shop.  We can help make sure the beer in the bottle or can looks as good as it tastes.

Thank You

Customers have choices – we are very thankful for all the brewers that choose us for their label needs.  Beer remains a very solid part of our business, but we would love to talk to new breweries too.  Call us today if you want to kick up the quality on your beer labels.  Cheers!

Design Week – Rough Draught – Beer Label Design

Design Week – Rough Draught – Beer Label Design

Beer label design is critical to building your brand and we like staying on the cutting edge with events like this.  This sold out event was fun and inspiring as we work with our customers to keep their beer label design fresh.

Live Design in Real Time

Beer Label DesignLed by beer label design guru Ryan Wheaton, the Rough Draught event featured four designers doing live design in a compressed 90 minute time frame.  Each designer was paired with a specific beer that was released for the event.  Attendees were invited to taste the beer and come up with catchy names for the beers.  Ultimately, in 90 minutes, the beers were named and labels were designed on site. This was likely the fastest beer label design they had ever done.  Hearing the designers talk about their inspiration and process was very interesting.

Learning while They Draw

Harvey Shepard – founder of Oh Beautiful Beer gave us a fantastic history lesson while the designers were hard at work.  Starting DesignWeekPortlandwith the very first packaging – which was not controlled by the brewery or standardized – through prohibition, we learned about all the ups and downs of beer packaging through the ages.  More important for many was the commentary on the current proliferation of specialty, one-off, short run products (and labels).  Harvey did a good job of pointing out that all trends run in cycles and what is working now may not be viable in 5 years.  Speaking of 5 years, this was a general guideline for a brand refresh.  Every case is different – and elements of a brand may need a refresh much sooner – but this was an interesting and helpful part of the Q&A session.

True to the Brand – Discipline

This was another great reinforcement of something we preach daily – the design has to be true to the brand.  Labels don’t exist in a vacuum, they are part of a larger brand story.  In order to be effective, this story has to be authentic and consistent.  Harvey was asked about how he avoids creating beer labels that all look the same and this was the answer – discipline.  Designers in his studio Blind Tiger Design in Seattle work very hard to listen and draw out the authentic brand story.  This discovery process is critical, and clearly one of the things that keeps their design fresh, fun, and authentic to the brands they serve.

Design is Key

Why does Rose City Label care about design this much?  Design is key.  Without great design partners, the label printing process is boring and our customers aren’t likely to succeed.  We don’t do in-house design, but we do have a wonderful group of design partners that we can refer you to.  Thanks to Ryan, Harvey, and our friends at Hopworks for hosting this fun, interesting event.

Continuous Improvement – Forever

Continuous Improvement – Forever

Rose City Label again attended the PIA/SGIA Continuous Improvement conference. This is the very best place to benchmark with other printers that are practicing Lean Manufacturing.  Seeing other printers, large and small, share their success and lessons learned is motivational for us.  We learned new skills and recommitted to working on the business – we have to constantly drive out waste and provide more value for customers. Every single day.

Continuous Improvement in all areas

The 2018 CI Conference reinforced all the areas of our business that we work on daily.  There is no finish line on the road to printing excellence.  We have to be vigilant and recognize that there are always better ways to do things.  Even after a record year – the best year in 90 years – we still have improvements to make in the office, production, shipping and prepress.  There is always more work to do.

Culture and TechniquesForever and Always - getting better for customers

One of the excellent presenters compared the lean CULTURE and lean TECHNIQUES to ‘peanut butter and jelly’.  The two things are fundamentally different, but they are both required for optimal results.  Often, companies (including us) focus on the techniques and tactics in the press room, rather than the people.  One big takeaway from this conference was that our job – as a company – is to develop problem solving, innovative, curious people.  The people will deliver value for the customer, and the customer will make our business successful financially.

Learning to See

One of the initial things we (and all CI companies) need to do is learn to see opportunities.  One of the speakers said, You have to SEE it and then you have to SEIZE it.  You can’t seize (fix) it until you first SEE the problem, issue, waste, gap.  Learning to SEE is the first step to improvement.  In Lean language, there are 8 deadly wastes in every company.  We need to see these first.  Besides that, the concept of ‘Fix what bugs you’ is a great way to find problems to attack.  In every business, there are ways to get better every day.

Make it World Class

World Class organization to add value for customersBarely adequate workplace is not what we are going for.  We want our business, our facility, and our people to be the best they can be. Only then will we add the most value for our customers.  Clean, bright, well organized work areas inspire people to do their best and we strive to provide that.  “Look good, feel good, play good!”  This was the mantra of one of the speakers at the conference.

Pay it Forward

Another common aspect of lean companies is the desire to share what they have learned.  Because nobody survives on the lean journey alone, everybody realizes they had help along the way. Because others helped them, most lean companies want to help others.  We are no different.  Please contact us directly if you are a manufacturer trying to implement lean.  We don’t have all the answers, but we are happy to try to help.

Thank You

Many have helped us get to this point, and we know many others will help in the future.  Ultimately, we exist to add value for our customers and we thank you very much for trusting us.  Your support allows us to learn and grow as we move forward.  Please contact us today if we can help your business.

Being Pushed To Improve by Customers

Being Pushed To Improve by Customers

Always Do Your Best for Customers

Serving customers is a privilege that must be earned daily.  This privilege is granted on the condition that you, the service provider, will always do your best. Always.  In most cases, there are no guarantees or long term commitments in business – you have to earn your business every day by doing your best.

Take Adversity With Grace – See the Silver Lining

We recently had a very significant customer come to us looking for massive cost reductions.  The organization we serve is part of a larger national company and there was huge pressure from above to cut costs.  The entire organization put all their label and packaging business out to open bid – everything was on the line.  Relationships, service, history, special arrangements – none of this had a cell in the spreadsheet.  It is all about the bottom line dollar.  We were initially concerned and even a bit offended, but as we went through the process, we realized that we had to play ball or be left behind.  Digging in our heels and relying on charisma wasn’t going to retain this business.  We had to do our best for the customer – again.

Rise to the Occasion

After some hand wringing, we realized that this is an opportunity to become a better, more competitive supplier – for this customer and for all our customers.  The work we do and the efficiency we realize by this exercise will benefit all of our current and future customers.  We will force ourselves to get better – fast!  A small crisis motivates people.

Spread the Work

We will run the press faster, with less waste, and fewer errors.  We will hold each other accountable to be on our ‘A’ game every time we print for this customer.  But we also pushed some of the pain down to our suppliers – they have to help us find these cost savings.  Guess what – they have risen to the occasion too.  With creative problem solving, more aggressive price, and reviewing options we hadn’t considered before, our suppliers provided most of the savings we were looking for.  Together, we worked hard to always do our best for the customer.

Always Move Forward

The final bid award isn’t out yet.  We don’t actually know if our bids will allow us to retain the business, but we do know that our business will survive and thrive regardless of the outcome.  Each day we work hard to serve the customer.  We always want to win, but sometimes you learn and grow the most from the ones you don’t win.  Time will tell – we will be ready and we will move forward.