SAN DIEGO, CA—Label King, located in beautiful San Diego, CA with over 3.6 billion labels sold, has grown every year for the past two decades. In May 2022, Label King added digital printing to their arsenal with the Domino N610i digital UV inkjet label press, and refer to it as “the crown jewel” of their business. In October 2023, owner Robert Parker was awarded TLMI Converter of the Year.
Domino caught up with Label King to learn more about the company, their vetting process for adding digital printing, and the impact digital has had on their business. The interview was captured in the video below.
Robert Parker, owner of Label King begins, “My responsibilities are to do everything we possibly can to give the customer a great experience and a great quality product. We have excellent customer service, we have top of the line manufacturing, and we’re going to do the right thing for our customers, we’re going to do the right thing for our employees, and we’re going to do the right thing for the environment.”
“When we started 20 years ago, I saw a deficit in the service and support from label companies. So, I decided to start a label company. Our customers come to Label King for a few different reasons. They want to get a good product, they want to get a quality product, and they want consistency. And I can tell a customer that we have a tremendous amount of experience in every single step of that chain to create a quality product.”
“Here at Label King we have multiple platforms, but we’d been wanting to get a digital press for quite some time and that is probably the most important thing for Label King going forward.”
Robert describes the due diligence of their detailed and thorough vetting process of digital printing providers. “What we did initially, is we wanted to get samples from every single company. So, we sent files to about eight companies. All eight of those companies sent back what they printed on their digital technology. We separated them, we wrote numbers on the back of them… each number representing a different company. And then we had a blind test. And we narrowed it down to the top three based on print quality. The next step was to take visits to all three of those companies. Domino was so relaxed about the whole thing. The other visits that we took, things were ‘Well, maybe we can do this, maybe we can’t’. Domino had everything together. They said, ‘Yes, just come on out. Bring your files and we’ll take care of it.’ It was no problem for them. We were blown away by the simplicity of the press. It printed out what we wanted, in the vibrant colors that we were looking for, pretty much the first time. We bought the Domino press, and after buying the press, we got to see the Domino Difference.”
Turi Fiske, Digital Production Manager at Label King says, “The press room was built specifically for the Domino, and we wanted it to showcase what we do here. It’s so much more user-friendly, it’s easier to learn. If you know how to design or use PDFs, you can get taught how to use a digital press. The first step was going to be converting our existing flexo work to digital. We’re not bogged down with waiting for plates, waiting for order processing or anything. We know that with less people, less overhead, we can get more out the door with this press. This is the crown jewel of what we do here.”
“Something that we’ve done a lot of lately, that I didn’t really see coming, is variable data or consecutive number jobs. We had a thermal transfer printer before, but it would take days to do these bar codes. Now, we can print them two or three across and do it sometimes in just five minutes. Our customers have loved that.”
Robert says, “It’s interesting. In the Label King’s journey for over 20 years, I wish I would have gotten a digital press earlier. The digital press has helped tremendously to increase our flexo runs. It’s opening up the other machines for the best flexo jobs. And it’s become more efficient. Our sales are up. We were able eliminate our third shift. We kept all of our employees. And our customer service is up.”
“We have a customer who has a very unique background to their label. It varied every single time, flexo. They were at their wits end. So, we got the Domino, and we brought them in. We printed about 20 different items, while we were at lunch. They came back, signed off on everything, and we continue to have that business to this day. That’s a big, big deal.”
“There is a Domino difference, and I look at it also as a Label King difference as well. And that difference is, we work with people. We have the people who helped us when we were visiting the plant in Gurnee, we have the people who help us with the Marketing, we have the salespeople who continue to be supportive of us, and the Domino difference to us is the service level that we get when we need it, on a day in and day out basis. They take it personal, just like we take it personal. And that’s caring about the business that they have, just like we care about the business that we have. And that, in my opinion, is the Domino difference.”
Robert concludes with, “Domino has been a great partner for us. We look at our customers as partners, and we look at our vendors as partners. So, I plan for a wonderful future together with Domino, they’ve been nothing but supportive for both us and our customers. I wouldn’t have done it any different. Thanks, Domino.”