Rapid Labels Case Study

RAPID LABELS

“We chose to go with CodeBlue because they were smarter in understanding our business needs and in coming up with a proposal which came from a business perspective, rather than just technology. We had comfort that CodeBlue had a good track record with existing customers. Our business is built on the speed as well as the quality of our response to customer needs. Throughout the selection process CodeBlue showed they shared that ability to respond quickly to the customer – us – and we gave them our business in the hope they could deliver. They did.”

Anne-Marie Sutton, General Manager,
Rapid Labels.

When Tiri Group bought fast-growing label manufacturer Rapid Labels from Blue Star in July 2012, Rapid Labels was faced with very tight deadlines to implement a new IT system from the ground up. CodeBlue won the business and succeeded in completing the implementation ahead of schedule and under budget.

Rapid Labels is a thriving label manufacturer operating from a purpose-designed facility in Auckland’s North Harbour Industrial Estate. Highly efficient label production lanes deliver on the Rapid Labels speed promise – quotes in two hours, proofs in four hours, labels in five days from sign off of proof, 99% on-time guaranteed. Everything in Rapid Labels’ business is done at pace. Annual sales top $23 million with a staff of 75 label specialists operating in several specific markets – wine labels, food & beverage labels, thermal labels, laser labels, and pharmacy dispensing labels – as well as making customised labels for clients nationwide. Rapid Labels is one of 11 businesses in the Tiri Group, contributing to around $200 million in annual turnover and employing more than 600 people around the country.

“We had to disentangle quickly from the Blue Star system and figure out how to go it alone,” says Rapid Labels General Manager Anne-Marie Sutton. “We did a scoping exercise and decided that outsourcing was the way forward. We didn’t want to have an in-house IT department, so we needed a provider that could design a new system and handle implementation and ongoing support – all to a very tight deadline.”

Protecting its heritage

With a 150-year history, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce is one of New Zealand’s most respected business organisations. It has around 6000 members in the greater Auckland area and provides a platform to help them to succeed. Organisations join to grow their business through networking and promotional opportunities, to mitigate risk by becoming better informed about compliance, find and develop skills and to save money.

The Chamber sought a specialist IT organisation that embraces best practice and provides 24×7 support. CodeBlue was recommended
by other strategic partners.

“The company needed to be affordable as well as reliable,” says Manford, “and CodeBlue ticked all our boxes.”

Chamber staff travelling overseas require remote access to email and mission critical data; often in difficult and challenging environments. Its mobile sales force needs remote systems access to meet a target of contacting around 200 potential new members each month.

Prior to engaging CodeBlue, the Chamber lost productivity and revenue through systems downtime. “I’d been under pressure to keep things up and running,” says Manford. “But it was more reactive than strategic. Those problems went away when CodeBlue arrived on the scene. I can sleep better at night knowing there are people I can call 24×7 to solve my problems.”

“We are absolutely delighted with CodeBlue’s ability to deliver on their promise. Everyone I talk to is surprised that the IT project was brought in ahead of time and under budget – that never happens. Meeting the time deadline was absolutely critical. The business was purchased by Tiri Group in July 2012, the handover along with the switching off of the Blue Star IT service was in December 2012. “By the time we’d completed the initial scoping exercise and selected CodeBlue as our supplier, the time to implement was shorter than we anticipated. But CodeBlue came through on time. That was fantastic,” Sutton says.

A fully-outsourced solution

Rapid Labels uses Prism for job costing and financials, MYOB EXO for payroll and VIP for fixed assets, and – prior to the new CodeBlue system – a standard Microsoft 2000 desktop operating system platform. The company uses Apple Macs for the in-house label design team, with the requirement for integration between the Apple and Microsoft environments.

CodeBlue’s approach was to implement an in-house cloud. Rapid Labels had retained a new server at their Albany premises as a legacy of the shared services provided by Blue Star. CodeBlue General Manager Ian Funnell says that this meant it was most cost-effective for CodeBlue to maintain servers in- house rather than provide them via the cloud. CodeBlue’s solution was to implement a new in-house, fully virtualised
server farm using the existing computer room.

“We put new fibre into the customer’s Albany premises, upgraded workstations and installed latest versions of existing software. We support this via a full-service managed services support contract with remote monitoring and full Helpdesk support. We built a knowledge base to span all of Rapid Labels’ applications. The new system is working very well. We’re particularly pleased with user acceptance of our Helpdesk, which is giving fast response and very high first call solve rates for user problems,” Funnell says.

“Rapid Labels illustrates the success of CodeBlue’s strategy of focussing on IT services optimised for mid-sized businesses. This focus is resulting in a very high win rate against larger competitors,” says Ian Funnell.

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