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VP of York Label Chris O'Brien on the challenges of multiple companies, one brand

Published on May 19, 2011

York Label is a collection of over a dozen companies and building them together as one entity is no small task. Chris O'Brien, VP & CIO, discusses the value of bringing EFI Radius into their business standards to create one branded entity.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Chris: who’s the Vice President and Chief Information Officer from York Label. Welcome.

Chris O’Brien: Thank you. Glad to be here.

Cary: So tell us a little bit about York Label. Pretty good size company.

Chris: Yeah, York is a conglomeration of about 13 different companies that we’ve purchased over a two in half to three year period and we’ve gotten some seed money from some private equity investors and gone out and purchased these companies that were really kind of standalone previously and try to build them into a single entity that can go out to the market and sell the brand decoration and the packaging labeling that we’re accustomed to.

Cary: Are they – so you have multiple sites still or did you?

Chris: We do. We have 13 locations.

Cary: Okay.

Chris: Some of the acquisitions we did had multiple locations and we still produce in all those locations today.

Cary: And how many employees?

Chris: About 1,000 employees.

Cary: So big.

Chris: Yeah.

Cary: So you’ve been a Radius customer since before the company was acquired by EFI.

Chris: Correct. We’ve been a Radius customer for about a year-and-a-half now. We’ve implemented three of our 13 facilities and are in the process of rolling out the remainders. So yeah, we’re excited.

Cary: And so from the prospective of the CIO, what’s the value of having a product like Radius in your business?

Chris: Well, again, as we grew pretty rapidly through acquisition, each one of our acquisitions basically operated as an independent entity. We got some synergy by volume buying and things of that nature but every plant did something a little bit differently and we felt that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. And so one the things that we’re trying to do is standardize our business processes across every one of our locations so they can automate some things. We can consolidate some things but ultimately we can be a single voice and a single face to the customer regardless of what plant they’re working from.

Cary: And then you’ll also be able to see what’s going on from an overall corporate perspective, real time.

Chris: Yeah, so obviously metric management and being able to measure people and measure plants the same way is very important. The analogy I always tell people is we speak 10 different languages with the 10 different systems that our plants have today, we want to come on one common system so they’re all speaking the same language and working together.

Cary: How long do you think it will take you to get all 13 plants onboard?

Chris: Well it’s a two-and-a-half to three year process. We’re a year-and-a-half into it so we have another year to year-and-a-half to go. We’re getting better with the implementations. We’re getting better with the conversions. It just takes some time to do and because we don’t have any common systems amongst the 13 plants, each implementation is unique in its own right.

Cary: And so are you primary, then Flexo House?

Chris: Primarily Flexo. We have some offset capability in a couple locations. And we do that as a matter of practice and there’s a certain market for that. Primarily Flexo.

Cary: And I understand you’re checking out a Jetrion to see how that might work.

Chris: Yeah, well we’ve obviously digital printing is something that everybody hears about and wants to be involved with and we’ve had a digital press in our York Pennsylvania facility for about four years but haven’t really figured out exactly what the market is for it and how to sell it. So we’re trying out some other alternatives and Jetrion is something that we’re looking at and evaluate it along with some possibly other new acquisitions on the digital side. 

Cary: That’s great, yeah, cause there’s a lot of new market opportunities that you can open up with those shorter runs.

Chris: Absolutely and we just kind of got to figure out how to best market those capabilities and then kind of cater our sales force and our operational teams around that.

Cary: And so in terms of Radius then once all the plants are up on it then, I mean, do you see something else that you’re going to need to do with it later? I mean you can continue to customize it to your business?

Chris: Yeah, I mean obviously we don’t want to customize the everything but we want to take advantage of that common language, so then we can start measuring ourselves the same in every location. We can start building automation. Connectivity and integration of customers is very important to them, whether it’s an e-commerce site or it’s connecting to their supply chain management systems and working together with them. The more integrated we are with our customers and our suppliers, the better we conduct business and generate profits for all of us.

Cary: That’s great. Well congratulations.

Chris: Well thank you very much.

Cary: It’s great to have a good success story like that.

Chris: I appreciate it. Thanks for the time today.

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