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Label machine at Shippers Supply, Kelowna
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PLU Price Look Up peel off labels
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Ron Brown, Founder and President of Shippers Supply
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Shippers Supply close-up on labelling machine
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Shippers Supply Team in Kelowna
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Al Catton, sales rep at Shippers Supply, Kelowna
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Shippers Supply Wine Packaging and Mascot
You wouldn’t normally think of a shipping supply company as being innovative – especially one that has been around for more than 38 years. Then again, you haven’t met Ron Brown – Founder and President at Shippers Supply.
"Change is constant; we are always seeking ways to be ahead of the curve, to anticipate the needs of our customers," Brown says.
A good example is the new PLU labels just developed by Shippers Supply for the fruit industry.
The Shippers Supply branch in Kelowna was called upon to find a label solution for a fruit grower in the Okanagan.
In BC, every piece of fruit carries a small ‘Price Look Up’ peel-off label to identify the product and grower.
"Growers were finding that the label rolls were snapping in the automated labelling machines," says Chuck Bullock, the local branch manager in Kelowna. "Perfectly good labels were being tossed in the garbage causing a lot of waste and costing them hard-earned money each year."
So Shippers Supply developed a product which replaced the easily-torn paper backing material for labels with a poly material that does not break during the labelling process. "The bottom line is, we saved the customer time and money," says Bullock. "We worked closely with the customer, did several trials of different material and found the one that worked best for what they need."
Having a local branch right in the Okanagan means shorter lead times as well as smaller minimum orders. "Normally these labels are produced in California which means the lead time can be upwards of 6 weeks and you have to order hundreds of thousands at a time," says Bullock. "We are capable of getting custom labels to our customers in less than half the time and in lot sizes that reflect the quantity they actually need."
Shippers Supply was originally established in 1975 as a box company and has since grown to be the go-to place to source for all packaging and warehouse products.
"It was a natural progression," says Brown. "My customers needed tape to close their boxes, hand trucks to move their product and racking to store their inventory."
Today, Shippers Supply stocks more than 5,000 different products on their shelves and sources thousands of non-stocked products for customers in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
"We’ve done our research and have sourced the best suppliers locally as well as globally. Our product mix is unrivalled in the industry," says Brown. Distribution is not Shippers’ main focus, however. Their 160,000 square foot facility in Edmonton, Alberta houses some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in Western Canada.
"We manufacture the boxes, labels, tags and material handling equipment right here. Do you want one or do you want 10,000? Printed or plain? Since we make the product, we have the flexibility to provide our customers what they really need."
That flexibility allowed Shippers Supply to develop their own custom wine-shipper program. Wineries ship thousands of bottles of wine annually to customers all over the world, and needed an easier way to send the highly breakable bottles.
After ongoing consultation with local wineries, Bullock saw a gap in the market; a convenient and cost-effective solution for wine producers to ship their finished product into the market effectively, without damage.
"These bottles hold precious cargo and need proper protection," says Bullock. "We listened and have committed to an in-house stock program of wine shippers which include the boxes and molded pulp inserts to ship multiple bottles of wine at a time.
"By stocking these locally, wineries have instant access to the wine shippers we keep right on the shelf. No large minimums and no wait time. It’s what we do."
With more than 10 years presence in the Okanagan, Shippers Supply is part of the local business community.
"Let’s face it - it’s a great place to be," Bullock says. "Over the years we have built a solid reputation as being the one-stop shop for shipping supplies, packaging, and pretty much everything our customer needs in their warehouse.
"People walk into our branch showroom and are shocked at the diversity and just the sheer amount of products we sell. Don’t just take my word for it. Come on in – let us prove what we’re capable of."
Shippers Supply Inc has 10 showrooms and stocked warehouses across Western Canada.
They can be reached in Kelowna at 250-762-8484 or toll free at 1-800-661-5639.
Visit their website at shipperssupply.com