Materials purchasing: label converter orders online

“I just wish more people would get on the bandwagon,” says Gary Wright, plant manager of Virtucon International Printing, Carlsbad, CA, when Net Sourcing asked about his experience with online purchasing.

Wright explains that he was like many label converters who tend to enjoy the personal contact with a human being before placing an order. But that was before he discovered the efficiencies of online procurement. In October 2000, pressure-sensitive label converter Virtucon International Printing began purchasing pressure-sensitive label materials over the Avery Dennison (Pasadena, CA) Fasson e-commerce Web site ( Wright worked with an Avery customer service representative who walked him through the system. “I made a couple mistakes at the beginning, but [the Avery representative] was very helpful,” he says. “Once I understood how to input the orders, it was a piece of cake.”

Daily relief According to Wright, online purchasing makes the workday easier. Efficiency and accuracy are two major benefits. “The human element as far as understanding what I want is gone,” he says. “There it is onscreen. There is no misinterpretation.” Previously, as working days became busier, Wright explains that many interruptions before faxing or calling in an order caused him to wonder if the orders were faxed over, or if the orders were correct. The online confirmation of purchases put Wright at ease. “With the instant acknowledgment of orders [via e-mail and right on the screen], I know that I’ve placed the order and I can go about other things, such as press operator questions,” he says. “Or if the order is not complete, I can leave it online, go take care of business, come back and continue where I left off. To me it is a lot more efficient.” Wright also found relief knowing that he may place orders at his convenience. “I can place orders early in the morning before customer service representatives even get to work, or I can wait until after hours,” he says.

Making the order Virtucon places orders daily on, averaging about $10ꯠ worth of rollstock per day. As Virtucon’s designated buyer on the Fasson site, Wright begins at the order entry Web page after keying in a password. On the order entry screen, he enters the material specification number, which automatically identifies the material type and name. Once the purchase order number is typed in, he enters the desired slitting widths and other requirements for the selected material. Wright can then view the order before it is submitted. “I verify the slit width, material selected, and make sure everything is correct, including the purchase order and shipping address,” says Wright.

Up-to-date report permits users to check order status and track shipments online. Buyers can check what stage of production the order is in, such as manufacturing or shipping. “I have used that feature mainly to keep my customer service people up to date as far as when that material is due to be in the house,” Wright says. Like offline purchases, the invoice is sent in the mail after delivery. Wright says that his early morning orders are delivered the next day, but usually, delivery has been two days after the order is submitted.

Lower price offering Avery also offers discounted pressure-sensitive material through what it calls the Fasson Store. The label materials might consist of offcuts from a master roll, material that may have been a slitting mistake or simply leftover inventory. Virtucon places additional orders of nearly $6ꯠ roughly every other day for these discounted materials at Fasson Store. The same discounted price is offered offline, but it presents the online ordering flexibility that Wright has become accustomed to. “To me, it just makes [purchasing] easier,” says Wright. “The more I get used to the system, the more time that I save in putting the order together.”

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