About 30 years ago, Adam DeFrancesco noticed major retailers were requesting that suppliers barcode label all incoming shipments to improve supply chain efficiency.
While many suppliers viewed these demands as a bluff, DeFrancesco felt he had identified a major upcoming change in the industry.
Thus, in 1989, DeFrancesco established FTA member OMNI Systems, a privately owned printer located in Mayfield Village, OH. He soon started to receive panicked calls from manufacturers, who needed to bar code label products or they would lose the shelf space to others who would be willing to add the bar code. Conversations quickly became how fast OMNI Systems could begin the project, and the company built its brand on this strategy.
In 2019, OMNI purchased its state-of-the-art 144,000 sq. ft. manufacturing headquarters in Mayfield Village. The company primarily serves customers in the US in logistics, distribution and transportation, food manufacturing and processing, and grocers and retail; today, the company has third-party logistics warehouses strategically located near key customers in the western part of the country. It has 175 employees across three shifts, and its current facility can support more than 50 presses.
Capabilities, Quality & Control
Seventy-five percent of OMNI Systems’ presses have print capabilities. Color capacities are up to seven colors. It also has digital barcoding abilities, thanks to specialized equipment.
General Manager Mike Murton says the company is a supplier of choice for those requiring a high-quality, low-cost producer of high-volume/long-run thermal labels, credited to the company’s management philosophy. In addition, prepress inspects each job prior to staging for production and performs post-production audits. There are multiple in-process inspections during each shift by quality control personnel, and standardized equipment fitted with inline finishing capabilities. Suppliers come onsite to present and train operators in inks, tooling, raw materials, safety, etc.
“Process control is very important to OMNI Systems,” notes Murton. “Each job requires sign-offs prior to beginning production. The job is re-signed off after each master roll change and there are multiple in-process inspections each shift by quality control technicians. Each job goes through post-production audits to verify quality standards and production efficiencies are met.” In addition, standard work and Work Instructions are maintained in an ERP system with established change control processes.
The company has standardized on the Mark Andy platform, building a homogenous press base and making it easy to interchange operators to various production lines. In addition, DeFrancesco says this helps the company maintain replacement parts for all presses on site, resulting in increased efficiencies, uptimes and production redundancies.
“Inline finishing equipment has allowed the process to be streamlined, which alleviates bottlenecks and allows OMNI Systems to go right from the press to the box,” comments DeFrancesco.
Print Processes & Flexographic Market
Over the past four years, OMNI Systems has installed, on average, more than four presses and pieces of inline equipment each year. It has also expanded and upgraded digital barcoding capability and launched an online learning management system with dedicated learning space.
The company says it has routinely saved its customers 15 percent to 40 percent on their thermal label needs over current costs. High-volume long runs of limited SKU thermal labels remain the company’s area of expertise, with many of its clients that have requirements in the billions of pressure-sensitive labels. The company is seeing seasonal or event-based label needs increase with customers. “OMNI Systems has dedicated business development representatives who collaborate with customers to understand their needs so we can implement value-added solutions,” notes President Andy Macek.
In 2020, COVID protocols and state-specific guidelines/regulations helped to drive increases in grocery, retail and logistic customers of up to 70 percent. Fortunately for OMNI Systems, it had just finished a significant expansion that quickly absorbed the increased demand.
In addition to implementing the necessary social distancing, hygiene and health screening measures in response to the pandemic, the company also installed advanced technology ion filtration systems on all of its new HVAC units. By reducing airborne particles, odors and pathogen, the units improve air quality and also save up to 30 percent on energy consumption, according to the company.
OMNI, when choosing its equipment and supplies, has made protecting the environment a top priority. In addition to benefiting the environment, the company is responding to the growing requirements of its customers. OMNI exclusively uses EcoSmart environmentally friendly certified ink products in the production of all its thermal label products.
In addition, OMNI Systems partners with many of its customers to implement label solutions that support sustainability efforts. This could include changing adhesives or substrate materials to better align with recycled materials used in its processes.
“Sustainability has become engrained in OMNI Systems’ daily decision making,” adds Murton. “OMNI Systems has implemented a process to reduce paper waste in the office and on the shop floor. We use electric power industrial equipment for material handling and warehouse operations. We are always looking for ways to re-use or recycle around the plant.”
Challenges & the Future
The company sees attracting and retaining top talent to support its continued growth as one of its current challenges, as well as continuing to deal with COVID and the new normal. But it is optimistic about the future.
Notes Macek: “OMNI Systems’ aggressive capacity planning has helped us be well positioned for additional growth in 2021.”