IN the six years since husband-and-wife team Jacques and Leandri van Tonder established Labelton in Boksburg, the company has diversified from producing stationery labels to servicing the needs of the automotive, pharmaceutical, agricultural and chemical-related product sectors.
Jacques explains that the company recently implemented a night shift and a seven-day working week. ‘We have thrived because we focus on building long-term relationships and supplying customers with the labelling solutions they need, when they need them,’ he reports. ‘Half our sales are in Gauteng, 40% in the Cape and the other 10% from across the rest of the country and outside South Africa’s borders.’
Since 2019, Labelton has purchased five pieces of equipment from ROTOCON, with each investment made specifically around key customers or market opportunities. The first two purchases were an ECOLINE RSI 330 slitter-rewinder and ECOLINE RDS 340 die-cutting, slitting and rewinding finishing system to address bottlenecks and speed up turnaround times for each order as they enable the labels to be rewound and packed straight into boxes without having to go to another station.
These were followed by an investment in an ECOLINE fan folding machine to service the needs of a medical industry customer, an ECOLINE RFP 340 to cut blank labels and rewind them to finished rolls and an ECOLINE Digital One press kit that includes a finishing label cutter. ‘We invested in this press kit, which was installed in May, to cater for two of our key customers who require several colour and plate changes on a regular basis for short print runs. These types of jobs can’t be run on our flexo press, which requires a minimum of between 100m and 140m for set-up, otherwise we’d be running at a loss,’ says Jacques.
In August, the Digital One developed an issue and Labelton couldn’t print. ROTOCON’s technician, Sachin Sukhlal, couldn’t determine the problem and neither could the partner factory in China that manufactured the machine. Further tests revealed that the main board was faulty. Two new boards were flown in, but these were also problematic. ‘When it was suspected that the machine might be overheating, I sourced and purchased replacement fans from a supplier in Kya Sands,’ Jacques remarks. ‘However, when Sachin tested the fans, the problem still persisted.’
‘After almost three-and-a-half weeks, I wasn’t happy that ROTOCON was not in a position to solve a customer’s enquiry or problem, so I called the owner, Michael Aengenvoort,’ Jacques explains. ‘He called me back after speaking to his team and committed to airfreighting in a new press kit because sea freight would probably have added another four weeks of downtime to our operation. The replacement machine has been installed and is working well.’
Michael emphasises that when a customer invests money and trust in ROTOCON, the team always strives to ensure that the customer is happy and able to convert this investment into profit. ‘In this case, Labelton had purchased the ECOLINE Digital One to service two customers’ needs, which illustrates the lengths to which Jacques and his team will go in order to ensure high customer service and satisfaction levels,’ he states. ‘ROTOCON shares this business philosophy and as a family-owned business, we had to ensure that we had the cash flow in place to buy a new machine and bring it in – as our manufacturing partner didn’t know what was wrong with the existing one and still had to conduct further diagnostic tests in its China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park area factory – and coordinate with our logistics provider, Manta Freight Logistics, to book a specific slot for us on Singapore Airlines to get the machine to Johannesburg as quickly as possible.’
Jacques adds: ‘Labelton has overcome many obstacles in its six-year journey and we value relationships with our suppliers and customers as these are crucial to our daily growth. It all comes down to communication; as long as we communicate and work around delays, the relationship will remain stable. We value our relationship with ROTOCON, not just from a machinery point of view, but also the knowledge and technical experience that the team shares with us and the assistance it provides.’
Labelton’s owners, Leandri and Jacques van Tonder and production supervisor, Philip Molefe value their four-year relationship with ROTOCON, which includes investments in five pieces of equipment and the sharing of industry knowledge and technical expertise.
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