Written on the 23 November 2009
MORE than a decade ago James Malone sold his house in New Zealand to buy a printing press in Australia, but his business Label Power has come a long way since.
With revenue of $5.3 million last financial year, Malone expects growth of 15 per cent for his label manufacturing company in FY10/11, driven by a business model that allows clients to take the reins once designs have been made.
“In July, August and September we’ve been up and this financial year is looking very positive for us - we expect 15 per cent growth, but while it’s good to have turnover, profitability is what pays the staff and improves equipment,” he says.
“What we do is manufacture labels and what makes us stand apart is that we supply printing systems so clients can print their own labels.
“We have graphic artists who design the labels, we manufacture them, but clients can also purchase the equipment through us which enables them to adjust for expiry dates, barcodes, or product variants.”
Malone cites his four main customers as hospitals, retail chains, manufacturers and the food products industry, with a focus on the core principles of customer service and responding to client needs quickly.
“You look at how the industry has evolved to more sorts of production — you can make labels to put on to products but that in itself isn’t a complete solution.
“What are you going to do, put them on by hand? That’s not as far is it goes, so we have another step that lets us develop systems and solutions for clients.
“As we import, at the moment the high Australian dollar makes it easier to have a more competitively-priced product, but at the end of the day, while there are deviations of where the exchange rate is, what’s important is what we do here.
While Malone was certain he could find markets for his products when the business began, risk plays its part as well and you need to know how to run a cohesive team.
“I’d definitely say that for every new product that’s a good idea there probably are three or four that don’t go so well,“
“There’s always a risk when you introduce a new product on the market, so if you do you have to release on a small scale as a test to see how it goes.
“When you’re leading a company the analogy I’d use is you’re getting everybody on to the bus – your staff are all going in the same direction without too many stops.”