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The power of a great label


The power of a great label Editorial: Colin Chinery Production: Ajuanne Payne

Silent salesperson, informer, hazard cone and instructor – few industrial components are as multi-tasked as a powerful product label. And with a brand defined by world quality products, advanced technology, and principled, customer-orientated strategies, Cape Town based Rotolabel, says Sales Director Grant Watson, is ready to extend its footprint on the African continent.

A label, like a job interviewee, has one chance to impress, and in a fiercely competitive market, leading top-end selfadhesive label manufacturer Rotolabel is delivering world quality products on the back of a principled, customer-orientated strategy. Founded in 1982, Cape Town-based Rotolabel specialises in high quality flexo, digital and rotary letterpress printing, hot foil stamping and rotary silk screening - technologies that can personalise each label, providing a unique marketing and promotional tool. “We are major suppliers to many markets, with a very strong presence in the food, wine personal


care, pharma, hygiene and track n trace industries, building a reputation for total commitment, and dedicated service to our clients,” says Sales Director Grant Watson. When major retail brand Woolworths launched a new range of cooking oils, dessert sauces, syrups and glazes as part of a new product line, ‘Cooks’ Essentials’, Rotolabel was immediately approached to produce the labels for this premium product range.

WORLD CLASS Rotolabel is renowned for producing superior print quality labels at competitive prices. “We have strived


to stay at the forefront of technology, enabling us to produce labels that sets a client’s product out from among the rest. “We have invested in of state-of-the-art finishing offering; digital, hot and cold foiling, silkscreen and high-build, varnishing and laminating. Everything you could wish for in designing a world-class label,” says Watson. Acquired six year ago by Bidvest, and operating as the Bidpaper labelling division, Rotolabel is set to extend its Africa mark still further. “In the past four years some R40 million has been invested in equipment and acquisitions, and over the last two our expansion has been massive,” says

Watson. “We have also taken over the management of Lithotech of Johannesburg - now known as Rotolabel Johannesburg - and last June Rotolabel Cape Town acquired CCL Stellenbosch to further segment their position in the wine market.” Sustained investment in technology along with committed and dedicated customer service means that Rotolabel offers solutions ranging from highquality full-colour product identification labels to the supply of specialised equipment - such as bar-code printers and scanners, tagging systems and labelling software programmes. “Almost anyone can deliver good quality once,


CompANY PROFILE but Rotolabel is all about consistent quality and service. We try and take the hassle out of printing and our model is built partly on being as convenient as possible.” Does he see labelling as an extension of the client’s own branding? “At the end of the day the label is an intricate part of our customers’ products. We produce a high quality label, and with the designer

“Almost anyone can deliver good quality once, but Rotolabel is all about consistent quality and service” having a massive impact we must ensure we have the right capabilities to deliver the designer’s expectations.” Exacting market expectations too have to be met – and these are ever-increasing. “The biggest change


is in demand. Looking back you could set three to four weeks lead times and customers were happy. Now in the label business anything more than two weeks is too long, and quality expectations have also gone up a lot. “Typically lead times are two weeks - and for some major retailers one week or even days have become the norm. Delivering to these new customer expectations can be extremely challenging, since they require productive capacity and the capability of being both lean and extremely flexible. And as we all know, capacity comes at a cost. “These short lead times are very evident in the food and wine market where time is critical and often products are fresh and therefore cannot wait.”

COLOSSAL YEAR Acquisitions and the process of integrating new people and new presses into the business have meant that the last six months have not been easy, says Watson. “Inevitably they have been extremely demanding on management resources. But 2014 is going to be a colossal year. “But you can’t just chase sales; you’ve got to chase



Label Innovation At UPM Raflatac, we work closely with converters and brand owners to provide innovative, high quality and sustainable self-adhesive labels. UPM Raflatac’s labelstock products are designed to meet the needs of demanding applications in a vast array of end-uses. Whilst each product is designed to offer excellent printability, convertibility and durability, a key driver in all UPM Raflatac’s product development is sustainability. In developing new products and services, we value responsible sourcing and FSC® and PEFC™ chain of custody. We also strive for production process efficiency, recycling waste, and optimizing logistics.




Rotolabel the right sales. If you don’t, you get involved in a price battle, and from then on it’s a downward spiral. And I’ve seen this a lot in the South African label market, with some guys getting carried away chasing the vanity of volume. “Our goal is to be preferred supplier in our market segments not only in South Africa but elsewhere in Africa and we are looking at making acquisitions.” And wherever Rotolabel plants its imprint, it will be driven by its distinctive core values; world quality products, advanced technology, and principled, customer-orientated strategies.

“Our goal is to be preferred supplier in our market segments not only in South Africa but elsewhere in Africa and we are looking at making acquisitions” “You must always be looking at your customers, understanding what they want and adapting to their changes. You must invest continually in technology and be ever leaner and responsive to the market. People are very important – I know that’s a cliché – and - this is critical - to be successful you’ve got to be confident and believe in the value you are offering.” And with new advances- printing directly on a pack for example - what future does he see on the label of his industry? “As printing and technology push the boundaries especially with digital, you can now print direct on to products with a lot better quality and much shorter runs. This is always going to be a threat to labels, but I think a long term threat.”

SIMPLY – THE BEST Meantime Rotolabel plans to expand into other

CARTONAL, an Italian based Company, has been operating in international markets for almost 30 years in the field of flexible packaging and special papers for use in industrial, food, and printing applications. Thanks to a wealth of experience combined with years of working together with its customers, CARTONAL is always able to provide the best possible solution to satisfy all requirements: no matter how small or large they may be. Food packaging world: CARTONAL has a wide range of products tested on the international market for every kind of use. Our materials can be printed and used in food, bakery, fast food, freeze-dried, frozen, pet food industry and any other type of food packaging. For more details about CARTONAL activities, please check our website:

CARTONAL is represented in South Africa by Southern Tides.

SOUTHERN TIDES, a proudly South African company, has been in the specialised paper and flexible packing industry since 2005. Over the past 10 years we have gained experience in a variety of specialised products, logistics and have built a wide customer base in a number of industries throughout South Africa and Africa. For details on Southern Tides please contact us at: 33a Peter Place, Sandton, Johannesburg, 2152. Tel: +27 (11) 463 2256 Fax: +27 (11) 463 1796 Email:

markets in particular the oil,chemical and definitely grow our pharmaceutical sector too, where we have both the expertise and the facilities. We have moved into wrap- around and shrink, and I see a huge opportunity for us there.” Shrinking is not a term you would associate with this sector brand leader, nor the SD. So what drives Grant Watson, sixteen years a Rotolabel man? “Being successful. I’m very competitive and I like to be the best. Success can be measured in a number of ways of course, financial being one. “But financial success as such doesn’t drive me at all - it’s being the label company that people out there want to deal with and being the best that we can be.”



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