What's Steven Label All About?
Steven Label was founded in 1954 by Jim Steven. Since its inception, our business has revolved around the needs and requirements of OEM manufacturers. Because about 30% of our business is for Medical Device OEM's, our systems have been built with their even more specific requirements in mind. You can see how these requirements have flowed into each area of our business:
Our product line reflects the typical range of products that an OEM would buy. Our intention is to be able to supply all the needs of major manufacturers for pressure sensitive and related products. These include membrane switches, overlays, roll labels, ul/csa products, specialty silk-screen products (like instruction cards, static clingand domed labels), spacers, insulators, shields, precision die cut components and thermal transfer supplies. By design, we keep all of our processes in-house -- including art creation, image setting, plate making, screen making, printing and post-press operations. This is the only way to meet the critical service requirements of our customers. This gives us the flexibility to process emergencies (overnight if needed), without being dependent on outside suppliers.
We have invested in the technology needed to support our customer's needs to get to market quickly. We have pioneered several new approaches to digital printing and laser cutting that allow us to create near-production-quality prototypes in just hours. We work very closely with engineers to help "prove" and "refine" their designs during the earliest stages of development.
All of our people, including traditionally "non-technical" positions like sales or Customer Service, are engineering oriented. We do extensive technical training, across all areas of the business. There are 2 ways this gets applied in the OEM setting: 1) Problem Solving. When an engineer needs to find the right adhesive to adhere to a polyurethane powder coating, we can identify the right adhesive system very quickly. 2) Cost reduction. Certain product categories, largely related to PC's, but also including Medical, require on-going engineering effort to reduce cost. New materials and technologies are coming on-stream all the time that can be used to do this. We employ all of the tools out there, as well as specially designed in-house processes to get to the lowest "sustainable" market price for these components.
Since most of what we make is a component to someone else's manufactured product, late deliveries from us can mean a line shut down for our customers. We use an enterprise wide, real time system to control the processing of all our orders. For instance:
- When you call customer service, they know the real-time status of your order, without having to call you back.
- Proofs are approved directly at http://www.stevenlabel.com, which is infinitely more convenient and efficient than sending hard copy proofs through the mail.
- Orders can be expedited directly at http://www.stevenlabel.com, or by calling customer service. In either case, the system automatically notifies the scheduler responsible for the order, and internal reminders stay active until you have received your answer.
- The pricing for all of your parts are available on-line, so you can get pricing without having to wait for call backs, or quoting exercises.
- The system emails reminders to buyers every morning when we're waiting for proof approvals or revision changes to blueprints, on which the processing of an order depends.
- Every time a shipment is prepared, you receive an e-mail that gives you the airbill, quantity, part number, and P.O. number and other pertinent information. This occurs on a real time basis throughout the day, with shipping notices sent hourly. When users come in at 8:00am to ask about their labels, you can confirm that the product shipped and give them the airbill, without having to make a call.
- Shipping documentation is available in .pdf form at http://www.stevenlabel.com, the moment the shipment is prepared. This includes the packing list, certificate of origin, certificate of conformance and commercial invoice for foreign shipments. Requests from different parts of an organization for paperwork, are easily satisfied by emailing a .pdf document directly from the web.
- An exhaustive ordering history is maintained on the web, for your use. This includes a complete list of all parts purchased, including technical specs, art work and ordering history. This is of significant help when managing large numbers of parts ... some of our customers buy hundreds of part numbers from us.
- You will receive a sample of every part you buy from us, mounted on a sheet designed for a 3 ring binder. If you choose, you can keep a "portfolio" of all your labels, by keeping these samples.
These types of things give us unprecented visibility over the processing of orders -- which has been the significant contributor to our superior on-time performance.
In a similar way, our STAT system plays a central role in our QC processes. Our central database of all your parts is used to control revision changes on a real time basis. We have serialized control of every roll of raw material, so we can always trace back to our vendors' lots. Your QC people will find all of the QC systems in place that they need to be "comfortable". Early on, during our corrective action meetings, we discovered that over 50% of errors occurred at the "engineering" and "proofing" stages of an order -- not in manufacturing. We have focused on improving the quality of both manufacturing and the pre-manufacturing phases of processing an order. This has led to continually declining return rates from year-to-year -- now below .0025 (0.25%), which is $25,000 in returns on $10,000,000 in sales. Our employees receive bonuses every month for identifying errors and finding ways to prevent errors -- it's very cool -- because it's become part of our culture.
And now a word from our President . . .