Narrow Web Profile: Allied Label Printing Systems

By Jack Kenny | July 19, 2005

Allied Label Printing Systems Inc. is located in Flowery Branch, GA, out among the rolling land northeast of Atlanta. This year the business will take in about $2 million as a course of steady growth continues.

The people at Allied Label Printing Systems take pride in knowing that their company is "not too big, not too small." Customers and their labels get a great deal of personal attention. Of their many customers, none carries too large a share of the company's business, which adds to stability.

Allied Label Printing Systems Inc. is located in Flowery Branch, GA, out among the rolling land northeast of Atlanta. This year the business will take in about $2 million as a course of steady growth continues.

At the helm of Allied Label are its president, Duane Brayton, and vice president, Joe Bohnenkamp. Between them they own 90 percent of the company. The remainder is shared among Mitch Mitchell, the original owner; John Alley, the company's artist, and silent partner Jack Heinz.

Top: The press area at Allied Label.
Above, from left: President Duane Brayton, with Rocky; Vice
President Joe Bohnenkamp; partner and founder Mitch MItchell.

The company produces labels for a variety of products and uses, many of them for the textile industry. A good amount of the work is four-color process, and the company enjoys the decorative edge that hot foil stamping contributes to the process.

Mitchell, who launched the company in 1981, was a regional sales manager for Kimberly-Clark. "They offered to make me national sales manager, but that meant I would have to return to Ohio," says Mitchell, a native of that state. He enjoyed Georgia more, and decided, in the teeth of high inflation in that year, to open his own business. "It was quite a challenge," he says.

He bought a 4.5" Mark Andy central impression tabletop press and a Markem hot foil stamping press, set them up in his basement, and he was on his way. Not long afterward he acquired two Webtron 650 presses.

Around the same time Mitchell was getting his new enterprise off the ground, Duane Brayton was stepping into the industry. He served as a press operator and customer service person at Metro Label, then graduated to general manager at Identico. In 1994, when Mitchell was thinking about retirement, he bought into Allied Label and became its general manager.

The business continued to grow, and Brayton found himself somewhat overwhelmed.

"Duane was being bombarded," says Joe Bohnenkamp. "He was handling all the quotes and customer service, and he needed someone to take over the manufacturing part of the business." Bohnenkamp, who joined the company in 1999, was the man. He had spent 26 years at Nashua Corporation, running a press for 15 years and serving as quality and safety manager. He also worked for Identico as plant manager, and just prior to joining Allied Label was general manager for Diversified Tape & Graphics.

Because both of the company's leaders have a production background, they talk the same language when it comes to label quality. "Between Duane and me and the operators, we can get the answers to all of our questions — and fix the equipment." Bohnenkamp is a natural at machines, and keeps all equipment in working order.

The finishing area at Allied Label Printing Systems.
Press power
In 1993 Allied Label sold one of the Webtron presses and acquired a 10" Aquaflex with five print stations. They added two additional colors, plus a TruColor video web inspection system. Two years later, they bought a 16" Aquaflex, a two-color press, which was devoted to production of piecework coupons for a textile company. Since then, production at the textile customer has undergone some changes, and the owners of Allied Label are gearing up to utilize the available capacity of the large press in other ways.

"We're going after business to fill up that one press," says Bohnenkamp. "When that happens, we hope to be able to add some time in production — another shift."

The company uses R&L Inks. RotoMetrics is the main die supplier, though they also acquire rotary tooling from Wilson Manufacturing and from American Die Technology. Anilox rolls are from Harper Corporation of America. Brayton gives high marks to Acucote for the quality of its substrates and its service. The company also prints on substrates from Avery Dennison Fasson Roll.

In the production department, Gary Millwood runs the 16" Aquaflex, Scott Ellis operates the 10" Aquaflex, and Ted Malecki handles the Webtron 650. In the finishing area, Mark Alley operates the Arpeco rewinder and the shrink wrapping equipment, and Anna Becnel is in charge of shipping. Tom Clark is the company's hot foil stamping expert on the Markem press.

Sharing success
Sales at Allied Label Printing Systems is handled by brokers. One of them handles the company's biggest customer, which makes up 9 percent of the total revenue. Because of the long-standing relationships with the brokers and their knowledge of their client base, Allied Label is well known among the companies for whom they print.

Two of the brokers have a closer relationship with Allied. Tony Becnel and Gary Hagstrom work out of the company's Flowery Branch office and are devoted entirely to sales for the company, while retaining their independence.

In the front office, Peggy Venable handles customer service, and Wanda Couch is the marketing manager. Michelle Cheek is in charge of quoting, and Emily Brayton, Duane's wife, is responsible for accounting, accounts payable, and invoicing.

The company has a bonus structure in place for all workers. Moreover, the successes and challenges are shared by all, regardless of job description. "We believe in sharing information with all of our employees," Brayton says. "We show them our numbers quarterly, and talk about goals and areas to improve, and what impact they can have. All of our people have a direct impact on the cost of our goods."

Allied Label Printing Systems Inc.
4190 Thurmond Tanner Road
Flowery Branch GA 30542
Phone: 770-967-7060
Web site: www.alliedlabel.com
E-mail:   alpsinc@mindspring.com