Fixing the durables label supply chain

Fixing the durables label supply chain 


Established global supply chains face new and damaging threats – shortages, longer lead times and rapidly rising prices. There is also growing pressure on all brand owners to achieve sustainability, even in the key area of durable labeling, where conventional wisdom says it ‘cannot be done’. 

Avery Dennison’s David Yepes (Marketing Director High-Value Segment LPM EMENA) and Hans Eichenwald (Marketing Manager Durables LPM EMENA) take a look at the strategies that can deliver the right durable products at the right price and with dependable timelines.

What sort of applications are described as ‘durables’?

Hans Eichenwald: This normally refers to labels used in high-end applications such as automotive and electronics. These labels have to carry important information, and must perform for many years under the most demanding circumstances - so failure is definitely not an option. Examples include seat belt labels, appliance warning labels, and branding labels in electronics. Avery Dennison has been investing in a range of durables technologies for over two decades, and so offers a wide portfolio of products that comply with the highest  quality standards and compliance aspects. 

Fixing the durables label supply chain


Are durables segment problems still all about COVID?

David Yepes: The remaining COVID effects have been joined by new factors such as Ukraine and climate change, and changes in regulations around sustainability are also adding complications. What we’re seeing right now in some parts of the established supply chain is a convergence of many problems. The resulting higher prices are bad enough, but we are also seeing unpredictable supplies that at worst can delay production. One global response to this environment is reshoring – for example, BCI Global has predicted that “Over 60 percent of European and US manufacturing companies expect to onshore or re-shore part of their Asia production in the next three years.”

Does using a more local source of supply really help?

David Yepes: It can do. What really counts is gaining new levels of flexibility. A switch should maximize benefits. So, as well as price and timelines, minimum order quantity should be part of the calculation. You need a responsive supplier that doesn’t depend entirely on one location. Avery Dennison has six separate production facilities in the EU, producing several vertically integrated adhesive technologies, and that’s partly how we are able to keep supplies flowing and avoid peaks in pricing. It’s also how we can offer smaller minimum orders (down to 100 m2) for more flexible production, and 100,000+ possible combinations of customized label technology. Almost every kind of self-adhesive application is covered by our different divisions. This includes label & packaging materials, vehicle graphics, reflective signs, and functional materials such as tapes. All of which enables sourcing from one supplier easily.

Doesn’t requalification make things too slow and costly? 

David Yepes: Experience really counts! Success depends entirely on the quality of partnership you can establish, the testing resources available and the quality/equivalence of available materials. Avery Dennison has been qualifying these kinds of materials for a long time and is able to shorten the process. Perhaps most important of all is a customer-centric approach. It’s no good finding the best replacement product in the world if you’re left to figure out testing and requalification on your own. The reality is that success ultimately depends on a supplier having advanced and accessible lab capabilities, along with a hotline response that can resolve any arising issues quickly and easily. Durable labels are a key strategic area for Avery Dennison - we have advanced capabilities across automotive, appliances, electronics, and many more durables applications. We continue to invest heavily in relevant technology and resources across the globe, with close customer support on technical issues. 


Fixing the durables label supply chain

Does it always come down to either performance or sustainability but not both?

Hans Eichenwald: There is a common ‘understanding’ that durables labels cannot be sustainable, but our experience is quite different. Extensive R&D has allowed us to create a more sustainable durables range, designed to support circularity. The materials are already here that can help our customers/brand owners reduce their carbon footprint and reach their own sustainability goals. This is perfectly achievable while maintaining the all-important long-term performance needed in this segment.

Can any application be made sustainable?

Hans Eichenwald: It’s a question of degree right now in some cases, but it’s important to bear in mind that these changes are heading our way whether we are ready for them or not. Our goal is always to make the widest possible range of applications more sustainable as soon as we can – including demanding applications in automotive, promotional, electronics, and appliances. We offer industry-leading innovations that enable both functionality and sustainability, including everything from mandatory track-and-trace through to battery and laser etchable labels.

How do you manage the risk in terms of compliance?

David Yepes: It is essential to have in-depth support with initial selection, application testing, and compliance. For example, a demanding automotive project might need access to a climate chamber test. An appliance project often requires UL testing certification. What counts is rapidly reaching conformity with manufacturer specifications, and Avery Dennison has the lab resources needed for comprehensive testing. Two decades in the durables market has given us the experience needed to match a material to either an existing or new application. There is plenty of flexibility to adjust product specifications to precise requirements, and in-depth testing follows. 


Fixing the durables label supply chain

What if my existing product performance is too demanding to match?

David Yepes: This is where expertise, especially in adhesives, really counts. Avery Dennison has created specialist adhesive technologies for the most challenging applications - anything from metal labels that perform at 550°C through to labels that can stick to oil-contaminated rubber surfaces. Legacy durables labeling products can in fact offer performance that is inferior in some cases, because technology has moved on rapidly in the last few years. Because we can provide small minimum order quantities, it is often worth reviewing current arrangements, especially when faced with bumps in the existing supply chain.

What is the mechanism for considering a new material?

David Yepes: Close pre-sales technical support is the starting point. Technical Sales Specialists are well-versed in almost every possible durable application, and the Avery Dennison Mix & Match and Engineered Solutions programs allow custom products to be created and trialed where needed. If something, somewhere needs labeling, our team is equipped to make it happen. 

You can talk to an Avery Dennison specialist about any current or future requirements. We are always available to discuss challenges and give technical advice.


Get in touch with our Business Manager for Durables