COVID-19 Fosters Two Unusual Byproducts

Posted By JC from FLAG

August 31, 2020

Very late one Thursday afternoon in June, Chuck Keefe, president of Marathon Label in Wausau, WI, received a referral from an industry colleague. CFA Promotions, a promotional agency from Massachusetts, needed 400,000 hand sanitizer labels printed in the Chicago area for their customer Anvyl.  And they needed them fast!

New York-based Anvyl is a cloud-based supplier relationship management platform that allows companies to manage suppliers, oversee production, and house historical product data from procurement to delivery of inbound goods.  Like many companies across the globe, Anvyl has pivoted to supplying PPE equipment during the pandemic and according to their website, “Our expertise in identifying suppliers has uniquely positioned our team to help. We are prioritizing aid by sourcing critical items like face masks and hand-sanitizer.”

Although Marathon Label could provide the labels by early the next week, the customer was “desperate” and needed them much sooner — by the end of the weekend in Chicago.  Clearly, that would only be possible with a digital press.  Marathon Label, however, specializes in longer runs of prime packaging and industrial labels and sells exclusively to distributors.  Although CFA Promotions was not a current customer, Keefe immediately jumped into action and put in the time working through his contact database in an attempt to find a local converter with a digital press who could print the labels. But finding a converter who would willingly “blow up their Friday schedule” for an unknown customer was proving to be daunting.

Marathon Label, Wausau, WI

Chuck Keefe, President, Marathon Label, Wausau, WI

And then Keefe, a long-term member of Flexo Label Advantage Group (FLAG) thought about utilizing the FLAG network to find someone who might be willing to meet the quick turnaround. He remembered meeting Mark Turk, president of International Label and Printing at a FLAG Annual Meeting, and recalled that International Label had a Domino press.  But without Turk’s contact info, Keefe turned to J.C. McKay, VP, Business Development for FLAG for help. J.C. responded immediately and reached Mark Turk at 7:30 p.m. that evening at his home.

And then Keefe, a long-term member of Flexo Label Advantage Group (FLAG) thought about utilizing the FLAG network to find someone who might be willing to meet the quick turnaround. He remembered meeting Mark Turk, president of International Label and Printing at a FLAG Annual Meeting, and recalled that International Label had a Domino press.  But without Turk’s contact info, Keefe turned to J.C. McKay, VP, Business Development for FLAG for help. J.C. responded immediately and reached Mark Turk at 7:30 p.m. that evening at his home.

Chuck Keefe, President, Marathon Label, Wausau, WI

International Label and Printing is a full service printer/converter in Elk Grove Village, Illinois (on the west side of Chicago). Turk and his partners Bob Gorzynski and Tony Dardano bought the company in 1993 and will essentially print “anything that comes in a roll!” And with two hybrid flexo/digital presses – that’s translated to a large number of winery and craft labels for companies throughout Illinois and the surrounding areas.  And lately – a whole lot of sanitizer labels!  Speed-to-market from their CEI BossJet Powered by Domino has been a key differentiator for the award-winning, 30-person company.

International Label and Printing, Elk Grove, IL

After a few iterations with the artwork, the labels were run and picked up by the customer by the end of day Monday.  And based on their responsiveness and excellent print quality, International Label and Printing immediately received a second order from the customer.

Marathon Label and International Label have both been successfully managing the ups and downs of the pandemic. Fortunately, their customers have been deemed essential and business has been  steady.  This challenging request for hand sanitizer labels, however, pointed out two unexpected byproducts of business “not-as-usual.”

Hand Sanitizer Label printed by International Label and Printing

The first was that it requires extra efforts to meet urgent customer demand in a pandemic.  Chuck Keefe put in the time because it was simply the right thing to do — even though he had no relationship with the customer and frankly had nothing to gain.  International Labels’ entire production team, led by Operations Manager Robert Gerstung, demonstrated a real “can-do” attitude and made the order possible.  And J.C. McKay worked into the evening to harness the power of FLAG.

Mark Turk, President, International Label and Printing

Secondly was the need for new levels of trust.  Turk and International Label disrupted their Friday production schedule for an unknown customer with a “desperate” need.  This type of order could easily have blown up in their face – but they successfully turned it around in one day.  Once again, because it was the right thing to do.  And Chuck Keefe had to trust in International Label’s capabilities and reputation as he made the recommendation.

According to Keefe, “Based on their feedback and the second order, it’s clear that the folks at Anvyl were very pleased with the quality of the labels and our responsiveness to their need for near instant turnaround.  With these labels, Anvyl can meet the demands for hand sanitizers that will now be distributed in hospitals, and with first responders and private organizations.”

In thanking Keefe for the referral, Turk concludes, “This is definitely a feather in the FLAG cap, demonstrating how an organization can truly help its members!”

This is definitely a feather in the FLAG cap, demonstrating how an organization can truly help its members!”

– Mark Turk, President, International Label and Printing

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